Knicks: Evan Fournier adjusts to 4th qtr benching and new role off the ball

evan fournier, knicks

Last summer, Evan Fournier was France’s best player in Tokyo Olympics. He’s been clutch as he was with his former NBA teams.

Those memories seem too distant now as Fournier, the most expensive Knicks signing in the offseason, had been glued to the bench in the fourth quarter of eight of the team’s first 15 games, including the last four.

“The way I look at it is that I can’t just play anymore like I did with other teams knowing I’m gonna play 32 minutes at least,” Fournier said. “Like I know where my shots are coming from, I know how things are gonna go for me so I can kind of get into the game knowing what to [expect].”

“Historically, I’ve been good in the fourth quarters and now that I’m not playing in fourth quarters, I have to bring something early on.”

This is the biggest chunk of games in Fournier’s career that he’s not playing in the fourth quarter. Even during his rookie year, he averaged 6.8 minutes in the fourth quarter of 33 of the 38 games he played with the Denver Nuggets.

For the first time since the 2015-16 season, Fournier is averaging below 30 minutes per game.

“With the situation right now, I don’t know how many minutes I’m going to play,” Fournier said. So, I have to have a mindset that if I’m going to play 20 minutes, then let’s just come out of the gate with extreme energy, be very alert, try to be ultra-aggressive and try to have an impact.”

Fournier started the season on fire, hitting big shots against his former teams, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, in their first two games. During the Knicks’ impressive 5-1 start, Fournier averaged 17.5 points per game, built around a remarkable 45.1 percent three-point shooting.

Then it went downhill from there.

Over his last seven games, his scoring went down to just seven points as his shooting went south (37% from the field, 23% from the 3-point line).

But it wasn’t just him who had been struggling. The entire starting unit is facing chemistry issues as they have the worst plus-minus of any five-man lineup in the league right now. And the schedule is making it more challenging for them to build cohesiveness.

“We don’t practice that much. We don’t play five on five in practice anymore,” Fournier said. “So, it’s really about watching the game, seeing how you can adjust, what you can do better and once you get on the floor, do it. Read situations. From my point of view, that’s really how we can get better just from watching the film. The games keep on coming.”

The game on Saturday against the league-worst Houston Rockets will be the Knicks’ 16th game in 30 days.

Fournier understands Thibodeau’s decision to ride with the hot hands in the fourth quarter as he admitted that his inconsistent play somehow mirrors the team’s play.

“Very inconsistent, obviously,” Fournier replied when asked to assess his season so far with the Knicks. “Kind of like what we’ve been doing as a team, to be honest. We’ve had really good games and really bad games. In 17 games, you’ve got some of my best and some of my worst already. From that standpoint, there’s only one thing for me to do, to keep working and have a winning attitude and do everything I can.”

It’s the same sentiment that Julius Randle had when he was asked to assess his season so far after their second straight loss to the Magic, the Eastern Conference’s worst team.

Randle and Fournier showed encouraging signs at the start of the season that they could replicate or have a better two-man game than what Randle enjoyed with Reggie Bullock last season. But as the season progressed, their chemistry also regressed.

Thibodeau isn’t about to hit the panic button. It’s too early in the season. Building habits take time.

“In fairness to everyone involved, I think after 15 games last season, no one was saying that Julius and Reggie had great chemistry,” Thibodeau said. “It’s something that evolved over the course of the season. So, I think you have to give this a chance to work out.”

While Fournier is not entirely happy with his performance and his fourth-quarter benching, he doesn’t need an explanation from Thibodeau.

“I’m a 10-year vet now,” Fournier said. “I watch the game, I can feel the game, so I don’t need to be finessed. It’s okay, my feelings won’t get hurt. I want the team to play well, and I want to play well. And when I don’t, it’s fine. I have to do better.”

With practices almost confined in the film room, how can Fournier build chemistry with the team?

“Well, communication and make sure we ask ourselves the right questions,” he said.

There’s no doubt in Fournier’s mind that things will get better, and it’s only just a matter of time.

“I always try to look at myself first and how I can do things better to be out there, obviously,” Fournier said. “I’m obviously not happy to be on the bench. But I want to be out there. I know what I’m capable of and I know what I can do to help this team win.”

While he’s still waiting for his shot to fall again and his fourth-quarter minutes to return, Fournier’s plan to attack his sporadic minutes and new role off the ball isn’t just about hunting for his shots early in the game.

“[Being aggressive] means everything. It may mean running harder, getting the rebound so I can push the ball in transition. Just have more energy and be more present because when you let the game come to you all the time, you become kind of passive,” Fournier said.

“Just do the little things. When you’re off the ball, especially as a guy that plays well with the ball, I have to find opportunities. How can I create movement just by running or missing a screen or slipping or something like that?”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Barrett as Knicks’ top perimeter defender? Thibodeau says ‘That’s the challenge’

new york knicks, rj barrett

New York Knicks former lottery pick RJ Barrett wants to be known as a two-way player and become one of the top perimeter defenders. This season will give him that opportunity.

Can he do it?

“That’s the challenge,” Tom Thibodeau said after Thursday’s practice. “To continue to challenge him, to grow and get better.”

When Reggie Bullock took his long locks and defensive lockdown mentality to Dallas, the onus was on Barrett to step up to the plate.

Evan Fournier is a shiny upgrade than Bullock. But despite Bullock’s limitation on shot creation, he was the bedrock of the Knicks’ perimeter defense last season. According to ESPN stats, his 3.74 Defensive Real Plus-Minus (DRPM) was the second-best among all small forwards in the league.

Barrett landed third among all shooting guards (though he spent most of his playing time as a small forward) with 3.00 DRPM, while Fournier was so far behind, at 26th spot with 0.16 DRPM.

Last season, the Knicks vaunted defense under Thibodeau finished third, tied with the Utah Jazz, in defensive efficiency allowing only 105.7 per 100 possessions, according to ESPN’s Hollinger team statistics. The Los Angeles Lakers (104.8) and the Philadelphia 76ers (105.1) were the only teams ahead of them.

Bullock and Barrett, along with Julius Randle, were the constants in the Knicks’ top three best defensive lineups, per Cleaning The Glass.

The trio flanked by Elfrid Payton and Mitchell Robinson only allowed 104.1 points per 100 possessions. Swap Payton with Immanuel Quickley and Robinson with Noel, the Knicks’ defensive efficiency slightly dipped to 104.5 points. Their third-best defensive lineup featured Derrick Rose, Barrett, Bullock, Randle, and Noel (104.8 points).

With Kemba Walker and Fournier expected to start at the backcourt, there’s trepidation that the Knicks defense will sag this season. Barrett earlier said he’s more than willing to step up and take on Bullock’s role as their top wing defender if Thibodeau calls his number.

“I think each year you learn and I think he has a better understanding of the tendencies of players. I think he understands schemes a lot better. He’s gotten stronger,” Thibodeau said, “but I think it’s a challenge for the entire team to stay locked in and improve. There’s a lot of things we can do better.”

Barrett’s big jump in DRPM from his rookie year (-2.68, ranked 132nd) to his sophomore season showed his enormous appetite for growth. According to Cleaning The Glass, 97 percent of Barrett’s minutes last season were spent as a small forward, with the Knicks allowing 108.6 points per 100 possessions which ranked in the 87th percentile.

Relatively, Bullock was more effective as the shooting guard (107.7 points per 100 possessions, 85th percentile) than as a small forward (111.5 points per 100 possessions, 63rd percentile), per Cleaning The Glass. Perhaps it’s the reason why he spent 85 percent of his minutes as a shooting guard.

While Fournier brings “Judo toughness” to the Knicks, the Frenchman is more a bucket-getter than a lockdown defender. He gives up at least 9 to 10 pounds in heft to Barrett and three inches in wingspan. Barrett’s stocky 6-foot-6 (that could still be growing), 214-pound frame, and 6-10 wingspan better resemble Bullock’s attributes.

After Barrett, rookie Quentin Grimes figure to be their next best bet as a defensive stopper in the wings. He comes with a reputation as a solid two-way player after spending two seasons under former NBA coach Kelvin Sampson, who coaches as hard as Thibodeau. But in a roster as deep as the Knicks have this year, it’s hard to imagine Thibodeau giving Grimes a long leash during his rookie year.

Thibodeau has a pragmatic approach to mitigating the loss of Bullock, and in part Payton, in their bid to remain among the league’s top-tier defense after choosing to upgrade their offense with Walker and Fournier. There is pressure for Barrett to take another leap defensively, but Thibodeau is not putting it entirely on his shoulder.

“I think it’s important for us to approach it as last year is last year, this year is a new, different year. And it’s important for us to start with a zero base to know that we have to put the work into this. It’s very difficult to guard in this league individually. Collectively, what you can do as a team? And so everyone has to understand their job is to go out there and execute their part,” Thibodeau said.

“If one guy is not doing his job, it will break down. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a defensive transition, pick and roll defense, catch and shoot defense, low-post defense, whatever defense you’re in, it’s gotta be five guys tied together.”

Aristotle once said: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” And it rings true with this Knicks team under Thibodeau.

“Each night you’ll be challenged in a different way. Some nights it may be the bigs. Some nights it’s (the) point guards. A lot of nights it’s (the) wings. And so help your teammate like you would want to be helped for. So everyone has to be in the right position. Everyone has to read the ball correctly. Everyone has to make multiple efforts,” said Thibodeau explaining his tried and tested defensive philosophy.

The Knicks were at their best last season when they played like a ‘string defensively’ as Walker described them Thursday. But having an elite two-way wing can bring the Knicks closer to title contention.

The jury is still out on Barrett. But embracing the challenge is a good start.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: Knicks’ Thibodeau kept three of his four veterans, but had to let go of Bullock

Reggie Bullock of the New York Knicks

The New York Knicks let several players from the 2020-21 roster go this off-season, including Elfred Payton, Frank Ntilikina, and Reggie Bullock. All three offered different attributes and skills but ultimately didn’t make the cut to continue on with the team.

In Frank’s case, his offensive development hit a wall and was unable to take his game to the next level, so the Knicks needed to clear his spot in favor of another player. Payton struggled considerably on offense and toward the end of the season last year, making way for Kemba Walker as the team’s new prolific free agent signing. However, Bullock played well at 29-years-old, averaging 10.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and shooting 44% from the field. He also connected on 41% from three-point range, an adequate number that helped the Knicks tremendously with their spot-up shooting.

Bullock isn’t the type of player to create opportunities for others like Evan Fournier, who signed a four-year contract with the team this off-season. He does offer improved defense, though, which made him a favorite for starting minutes.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau wanted SG/SF Reggie Bullock back on an extension but was overruled by the front office:

According to an NBA source, Thibodeau lobbied hard to bring back the team’s defensive heart-and-soul in starting shooting guard Reggie Bullock but team brass went another direction. The coach was disappointed.

The Knicks could have had the free agent for roughly the same three-year, $30.5 million package ($25 million guaranteed) the Mavericks offered him, according to a source. But on Day 1 of practice Tuesday, Bullock was in the Big D, not leading the Knicks D.

It is quite interesting to see how Thibodeau wanted Bullock back, but instead, the front office overruled him, despite allowing him to retain Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, and Nerlens Noel. When looking at Fournier, though, his more detailed statistics point toward a more efficient offensive player. He averaged 37.2% of his points on unassisted shots while Bullock landed at 6.5%. He’s clearly able to open up space for himself and score without an assist, which should take pressure off Julius Randle and some of the Knicks’ other playmakers.

The loss of defense will certainly hurt, making it difficult for the team to maintain some of their impressive qualities in the category. Of course, Thibodeau leans on defense to characterizes the team, but he will have to find a balance with more scoring production this upcoming season.

RJ Barrett ready to become Knicks’ top perimeter defender

knicks, rj barrett

RJ Barrett made a leap as a catch-and-shoot player last season. In Year 3, Barrett wanted to be known as a solid two-way player.

Someone has to step up after the New York Knicks lost their top perimeter defender in Reggie Bullock to the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason. Barrett is more than willing to pick up the slack.

“Being a two-way player is something that I’ve always strive for. Something that I want to do. It’s how I want to be known,” Barrett said Monday during the NBA Media Day. “So if coach [Tom Thibodeau] puts me in that position to be that guy guarding the [opposing team’s main] guy every night, I’m all for it. I’m up for the challenge. And I won’t back down.”

It’s also a pathway to reaching one of his other goals — becoming an All-Star in the league.

Last season, Barrett had shown he’s got what it takes to be a defensive force under Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. While everyone has been raving about Barrett’s remarkable shooting improvement (from 32 percent to a 40 percent three-point shooter), his tremendous improvement on defense got buried in the background.

Finally, Barrett’s stocky 6-foot-6 frame was put into good use that resulted in a 3.00 defensive real plus-minus (DRPM), according to ESPN stats. It was the third-highest DRPM among shooting guards behind Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George (3.89) and Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson (3.45).

DRPM is the player’s estimated on-court impact on team defensive performance, measured in points allowed per 100 defensive possessions.

Barrett had a -2.68 DRPM during his rookie year, which ranked near the bottom (132nd) in his position.

For comparison, Bullock averaged 3.74 DRPM, the second-best among all small forwards behind Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Harris (4.00) last season.

The Knicks’ projected starting lineup will have Barrett at the wings, joining their new backcourt of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier and a frontline of Julius Randle and Nerlens Noel (while Mitchell Robinson will be eased back into the rotation).

Barrett has the defensive edge over Fournier, who only registered 0.16 DRPM last season, which ranked 32nd. In 2019, Fournier had a slightly better DRPM (0.27). Based on this statistic alone, it’s pretty apparent Barrett will take the most challenging defensive job on most nights.

Offensively, Barrett blossomed into Randle’s Robin to his Batman last season, averaging 17.6 points on 14.7 shot attempts per game. That could take a hit with the arrival of Walker and Fournier. But Barrett also sees this as an opportunity for him to get more open looks which could result in better efficiency. 

Barrett referenced something he saw on Twitter that read like ‘RJ Barrett going to the lane this year,’ and he would be left wide open as an immediate effect of Walker and Fournier’s addition to the team.

“It’s basically how I think it’s gonna be — more attention on other people. All of us can really play. So everyone’s gonna get an opportunity,” he said.

With more space to work on, Barrett projects to take to another leap offensively.

He has worked on his off the bounce game this summer under his trainer Drew Hanlen who has helped develop some of the league’s top wings like Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum.

“Really, I was just working on my shooting, working on threes and certain shots that I need to be able to hit. So yeah, just being able to kind of recreate what I did last year and add on to that,” Barrett said.

Walker and Fournier made the Knicks a deeper team this year. But Barrett also noted that other teams had gotten better.

Chicago Bulls reloaded with Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan. Miami Heat added Kyle Lowry. Boston Celtics re-acquired Al Horford. Three teams that the Knicks leapfrogged last season.

The Knicks were able to address their holes — especially their point guard woes which plagued them when Elfrid Payton was unplayable down the stretch, and the heavy minutes took their toll on Derrick Rose’s body late in the playoffs.

Walker and Fournier could be the Knicks’ answer to their most pressing need, which is more shot creation to an offense that stalled in the playoffs.

“I think it’s great. We really have a team. We have a lot of weapons. That’s what you need,” Barrett said of Fournier and Walker’s signings. “Every night is gonna be different, there’s somebody contributing in a different way. I’m very excited.”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks: Is Evan Fournier really a big upgrade over Reggie Bullock?

evan fournier, knicks

After a solid season from Reggie Bullock, the New York Knicks elected to let him hit free agency in search of a new team. Averaging 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and shooting 44% from the field, Bullock was one of the players who could’ve reached an extension with the Knicks, but instead, they elected to retain Nerlens Noel, Derrick Rose, and Alec Burks. Bullock was, unfortunately, the odd man out, despite shooting 41% from three-point range and 90% from the free-throw line.

Ultimately, Bullock is a spot shooter that rarely creates opportunities for others, which could be viewed as a negative as more pressure was placed on players like Julius Randle and RJ Barrett to make something out of nothing. To supplement the departure of Bullock, the Knicks went out and signed Evan Fournier to a four-year, $73 million deal with an out after the third season. He will earn an average of about $18 million per season, a contract that dwarfs Bullock’s deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Reggie signed a three-year, $30 million deal, similar to the contract Burks’s landed with New York.

However, when looking at Fournier’s statistics, he averaged 17.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and shot 45.7% from the field. He also connected on 41.3% of his shots from three-point range and is a career 80% shooter from the free-throw line.

Right off the bat, there is a tremendous difference and assists between Fournier and Bullock, and the French native also got to the free-throw line about three times as much as a former Knick.

The statistics start to lean heavily in favor of Evan when looking at field goals made unassisted. For example, last season, Fournier averaged 37.2% of his points on unassisted shots, while Bullock sat at 6.5%. This essentially details Fournier’s ability to creating his own opportunities while Bullock feasts off of other’s hard work and being in the right place at the right time.

97.5% of Bullock’s three-point field goals were on assists, while Fournier landed at 78.6%, a significant difference that tells a story between the two players. Fournier posted 21.4% on three-point field goals unassisted, while Bullock finished at 2.5%. Defensively, Fournier is more efficient stealing the ball, averaging 1.1 steals per game compared to Bullock’s 0.8. However, Bullock offers better perimeter defending with his length and athleticism whereas Fournier has been susceptible to more athletic shooting guards in the past. With an extra inch of height, Evan does have slightly better-blocking percentages and totals over Bullock, but both are rather irrelevant in the category.

Both averaged about 30 minutes per game on the floor, but Fournier contributed seven more points, justifying a more significant contract. While the Knicks might’ve overpaid a bit for his services, there is no question he is a better player and will provide an upgrade at the shooting guard/small forward position.

Knicks: Is Evan Fournier an upgrade over Reggie Bullock?

evan fournier, knicks

When Evan Fournier woke up Tuesday morning after beating Italy in the quarterfinals of the Olympics, he made the decision to sign with the New York Knicks on a four-year, $78 million contract. With former small/shooting guard Reggie Bullock taking his talents to the Dallas Mavericks on a three-year, $30.5 million deal, Fournier’s contract seems a bit overzealous.

The Knicks are paying Evan twice as much as Bullock received on the open market, but they are getting a vastly different player in return, despite the fact they both play similar positions.

Evan Fournier stats:

-17.1 points

-3.1 assists

-1.1 steals

-45.7% from the field

-41.3% from 3-PT, 6.7 attempts per game

-78.8% free throw shooter, 3.3 attempts per game

Reggie Bullock Stats:

-10.9 points

-1.5 assists

-0.8 steals

-44.2% from the field

-41% from 3-PT, 6.1 attempts per game

-90.9% free throw shooter, 0.8 attempts per game

How does Fournier compare to Bullock, and what are the Knicks gaining in the French-born player?

Simply looking at the statistics, you can already see that Fournier offers far more scoring production, nearly doubling Bullocks’ total from last season. Traditionally, the former Boston Celtic and Orlando Magic shooter is a double-digit scorer throughout his career, posting a high of 18.5 during the 2019–20 season.

Bullock was best known for his catch-and-shoot abilities, especially when spacing the floor and picking out three attempts without much resilience. Fournier is able to create his own shots and spread the ball around the floor, given his 3.4 assists compared to Bullock’s 1.5. He also contains the ability to drive to the rim, which allows them to pick up more fouls, attempting 3.3 free throws per game compared to Reggie’s 0.8.

While their three-point shooting is eerily similar at around 41%, in almost every other category, Fournier has double the statistics that Bullock put up last year, indicating he is deserving of the contract. $20 million per season might be in overpay for a complementary piece, but Fournier is capable of taking pressure off Julius Randle and allowing him to operate, especially during the postseason when all eyes are on him.

Fournier should offer a great pairing with RJ Barrett, with his ability to space the floor and open up lanes for Barrett to drive to the rim. Ultimately, his ability to create shots for himself and open up opportunities for others is why the Knicks elected to sign him over retaining Bullock. However, the front office showed their loyalty, bring back Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, and Derrick Rose on three-year deals.

We should expect about double the production from the Frenchman compared to Bullock, which correlated directly to his price tag.

Report: Knicks will ‘likely’ work out deal with PG Derrick Rose, Reggie Bullock signs with Dallas

new york knicks, derrick rose

With the Knicks retaining two of their own in Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks, the expectation is that they will “likely” work out an extension for point guard Derrick Rose, per Marc Berman of the NY Post.

Noel signed a three-year, $32 million deal and Burks a three-year, $30 million contract at the opening of free agency, and while Rose hasn’t yet made it official, they’re looking to bring him back.

Rose could be in line for a nice pay raise after signing a two-year, $14 million deal with the Detroit Pistons during the 2019 off-season. Last season with New York, Rose averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 assists and shot nearly 49% from the field. He logged a career-high 41% from three, showcasing he still has gas left in the tank.

Without Rose, the Knicks likely wouldn’t have secured the 4th seed in the Eastern conference, and bringing him back to provide mentorship for players like Immanuel Quickley and rookie guard Miles McBride could be beneficial.

At 32-years-old, Rose played in 50 games last year, and while he doesn’t represent a long-term solution for the team, they could bring him back on a one-year deal, which would allow them to clear cap space and target a high profile free agent during the 2022 off-season. With players like Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine expected to be available on the market barring an extension, clearing as much space will be essential.

However, the three-year contracts the team signed with Burks and Noel will tie up a bit of money, but nothing they can’t overcome with the cap expected to rise over the next few seasons and plenty of youth to supplement any deficiencies down the road.

Rose has plenty to offer despite his last All-Star appearance coming in 2011.

In addition, Knicks small forward/shooting guard Reggie Bullock is preparing to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, opening up the door for a potential deal between New York and Evan Fournier.

Bullock served a solid purpose last season but had limitations beyond being a catch-and-shoot specialist. He played spotty defense and was inconsistent at times. Fournier would offer a pure playmaker who can create shots for himself rather than require good floor spacing and open shots to be effective.

Knicks News, 7/22: Kelly Oubre details what he would bring the New York, Bullock should be retained

Kelly Oubre, knicks

The New York Knicks will be active during free agency this year, and one player they have been connected to is Golden State Warriors small forward Kelly Oubre Jr.

Oubre is a 6’7”, 203-pound left-handed shooter, which would add another diverse player to a team that already has two lefties with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.

During the 2020-21 season, Oubre averaged 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. While he only connected on 31.6% of the shots from three, averaging 5.2 attempts per game, he started off the season very poorly, which dragged down his statistical total.

Overall, Oubre has the potential to be a great 3-and-D player under head coach Tom Thibodeau, and he indicated that recently.

Ian Begley and Chris Williamson hosted Kelly Oubre Jr. on “The Putback” podcast, where the Golden State small forward raved about the Knicks’ season last year:

“I am just looking for defense, hard-nosed defense, scrappy, fast-paced, athletic, open floor offense. That is what I thrive in and kind of just getting after it man, having a team for the hard nosed dog individuals, that’s ideal.”

When asked about joining a scrappy Knicks team, Oubre stated:

”To come in and to help help the organization get better. They’ve already started, the uphill trajectory of what they’re trying to get to with this past year, having a great season and balling out, RJ coming into his own, everybody really coming into their own and making a family unit. That was pretty much the biggest thing and that is why I feel like Tom Thibodeau had a very big part in that.”

It seems as if Kelly is seeking a multi-year deal, and the Knicks have plenty of cap room to make that happen if they view him as a long-term solution a small forward. They would essentially be replacing Reggie Bullock with Oubre at a higher price point.

Factoring in the decrease in three-point efficiency but advanced defense, they would be trading one strength for another. Bullock hit on 41% of his 3-PT attempts last year and is drawing interest from teams like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and even the Los Angeles Lakers.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that Bullock will be sought after this off-season, so the Knicks will have to fend off other teams if they want to keep the 30-year-old Maryland native. He averaged 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field this past year, averaging 30 minutes per game.

Ideally, New York would retain Bullock, who stated he prefers to stay with the club and continue building upon their success this past season.

Report: Knicks could lose Reggie Bullock in free agency as Celtics and 76ers have interest

Reggie Bullock of the New York Knicks

One of the Knicks’ more coveted free agents is shooting guard/small forward Reggie Bullock, who signed a two-year, $8.2 million deal during the 2019 free agency. He earned just $4.2 million last season, contributing heavily toward the Knicks’ postseason run, shooting a stellar 41% over 6.1 attempts from three-point range. He averaged 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and contributed 0.8 steals on defense.

Overall, the Knicks got ample value from a player who was making insignificant money last season, but he is set to earn a nice payday for his services. If the Knicks theoretically bring him back on a one-year deal, they could offer him $5.46 million, with the difference from his 2020-21 salary not included in the team’s cap space.

There will be competition for Bullock in free agency, as other teams have already expressed interest apparently.

Marc Berman of the NY Post reported that multiple teams have interest in Knicks’ free agent, Reggie Bullock:

According to an NBA source, two Atlantic Division squads, the Celtics and 76ers, have interest in Knicks swingman Reggie Bullock, who started all season at either shooting guard or small forward.

The Knicks will have plenty of competition for Bullock’s signature:

Not only do the Celtics and 76ers have Bullock on their list, but the Los Angeles Lakers could also enter the picture, Berman reports. While his preference is to stay in New York, likely commanding a $9.23 million full mid-level exception deal, it is possible he seeks a multi-year contract, giving him some job security.

As a player who averaged 30 minutes per game, the highest of his entire career, he offered the team plenty on both sides of the floor, hitting a few clutch shots down the stretch to help the Knicks secure the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Hopefully, they can retain him on an efficient contract without having to overspend for a player like Duncan Robinson of Miami. Otherwise, there will be plenty of free-agent targets to consider.

Knicks News, 7/14: Luca Vildoza opening eyes with 3-point shooting, Reggie Bullock a retention candidate?

luca vildoza, knicks

If there’s anything to take away from New York Knicks point guard Luca Vildoza’s performance with the Argentinian National Team, it is his stellar three-point shooting (8-of-19 over three games). While Argentina lost their third consecutive game during exhibition play in Las Vegas, with their most recent coming against Team USA, Vildoza was one of the only bright spots for his squad.

Having lost by 28 points, Luca understands that he must pick up the intensity, but he had the opportunity to guard some of the best players in basketball, including Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Zack LaVine, and Darius Garland.

Gaining essential experience against quality players will hopefully provide him a bit of momentum as he prepares to take on the NBA over a full season next year. Vildoza is excited to join New York on a four-year contract, and with Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose hitting free agency, the 25-year-old is currently one of the only point guards on the active roster.

“I’m really happy to be part of the historic team,’’ Vildoza to The Post about signing with the Knicks prior to the end of the 2020-21 season. “I’ve been saying this for the last two months. For me, it’s a dream since I was a child, I was dreaming of this day. When I got there, coach was there. I’ve been talking to him — one of the best coaches in the league. It’s so special. This is my chance to get here and get through to my dream.’’

Hopefully, Thibodeau will have a positive impact on Luca as he transitions to the NBA. Based on what we saw last season and the elevation of multiple players, we can imagine how his game will improve and progress at the next level. He undoubtedly has the right coaching staff and personnel around him to spur growth.

“I’ve [been] doing this last two, three years in Europe and I know I can do it here,” said Vildoza. “Today was a test for me against the best players in the world. I felt really good against them, but we lost by 30, and I got to get better. I got work to do.’’

So the Knicks consider retaining Reggie Bullock?

One player New York could look to bring back is small forward Reggie Bullock, who is an unrestricted free agent this off-season. Having signed a two-year, $8.2 million deal in 2019, Bullock served an efficient purpose, averaging 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and connected on 41% of his three-point attempts over 6.1 shots per game. Overall, he had a positive impact on the roster last season, so bringing him back could be a productive move, considering his price tag and the fact he averaged 30 minutes per game.

Aside from Bullock‘s obvious qualities on offense, he was a solid defender for the Knicks and has the versatility to play shooting guard as well. At 30 years old, he might earn a tad more based on his season last year, which included career-high minutes per game, but it shouldn’t be anything worth ignoring his value over.

What do you think about the idea of retaining Bullock? Comment below!