The NBA offseason is one day old, but the Sixers are already being linked to an intriguing free agent as they look for ways to retool before next season.
The New York Post's Marc Berman reports Wednesday that the Sixers are one of at least three teams with "interest" in Knicks sharpshooting wing Reggie Bullock.
Here's what Berman reported Wednesday:
"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 source said the Lakers, whom Bullock played for in 2018-19 alongside LeBron James, also have Bullock on their list. Interestingly, a report surfaced Wednesday the Lakers will try to lure Chris Paul back to Los Angeles. Paul and Bullock are both from North Carolina and are close.
"Bullock’s preference is to stay with the Knicks, but he likely will command the full mid-level exception of $9.23 million. One source believes Bullock, who turned 30 in March, will seek a three-year deal."
Bullock, 30, had one of the best years of his eight-year career with the Knicks in 2020-21, averaging 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 41% from deep and 90.9% from the free throw line. He's been a solid defender for years, and posted a career-best defensive win shares figure last year in Tom Thibodeau's defense-first system.
The Sixers have $100.5 million tied up in three players next year, so their wiggle room in adding free agents isn't huge - especially if Danny Green, who has hinted at a return, is back for a second year in Philly.
NBC Sports Philadelphia's Noah Levick examined six possible candidates for the Sixers' taxpayer mid-level exception earlier this week, and included Bullock as one option:
"Bullock started 64 games for the Knicks and made 41 percent of his threes. He’s the type of player who fits in just about any setting. While not as effective at forcing turnovers as fellow UNC product Danny Green, he’d fill a similar role. Furkan Korkmaz and Green are among the Sixers’ four unrestricted free agents, but the team should pursue shooters regardless. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Sixers ranked 26th last season in three-point frequency."
Ultimately, the team's interest in Bullock here might just be as a fallback option if Green winds up elsewhere or they part with Korkmaz in some sort of trade. Bullock will cost less than Green, and he brings a similar skillset albeit with much less postseason experience.
I really like the idea of adding Bullock, a versatile enough wing who has the size to play small forward in a pinch. The Sixers need as much reliable shooting as possible around their unorthodox Big Three, a trio of players who thrive closer to the hoop. Outside of Seth Curry and the aforementioned Green and Korkmaz, Shake Milton wasn't terribly dependable across the full season last year, Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey are still very spotty shooters, and George Hill often looked lost - though he was a mid-year addition and maybe never gelled the way the team hoped he would.
Perhaps we'll see if the Sixers hold sway with sought-after free agents yet, or if Bullock will choose to return to the Lakers for another shot at a title in Los Angeles or if Boston can lure him away.