As Reggie Bullock was mulling over his free agent options earlier this summer, there was something extra special about a certain team that caught his attention.
Bullock was very fond of that team’s competitive fight, their cohesiveness, and the way the players collectively cheered for one another. Those are all boxes Bullock checked as he was on the verge of moving on from playing the past two years with the New York Knicks.
That team was the Dallas Mavericks.
“From when I played against the Mavericks last year, I liked the way that they competed as a team,” Bullock said. “They’ve got great players, so it was an easy no-brainer for me (to sign with the Mavs).”
Thus, Bullock inked a three-year, $30 million free agent contract with the Mavs last month, and is already forecasting great things to come with his new team.
“Being with the Knicks last year—we made it to the playoffs – but I see (the Mavs) as a team that has taken that next step to be in the postseason,” Bullock said. “I felt like the skill set that I have was easy for me to be able to make this move to be able to come back down here and be around a great organization and a great city around great fans and just bring my game here.”
A 6-6, 205-pound forward/guard, Bullock averaged 10.9 points in 65 games – he started 64 – last season for a Knicks’ team that finished as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. He also shot 44.2 percent from the field and a robust 41 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
That latter shooting percentage is of great importance to Mavs superstar point guard Luka Doncic, who has an uncanny way of finding marksman hanging around the 3-point line. Bullock, in fact, is delighted that his days of trying – to no avail — to contain Doncic are over.
“Everything he does on the court, from shooting the ball, to his go-to moves, to the way he gets other people involved, he’s a great player,” Bullock said. “I’m glad to say that he’s a teammate of mine now – that I don’t have to guard him.
“We had some great battles when we played against each other when I came down here. But he’s definitely competitive and he loves the game and he’s got a lot of respect for it, so I’m glad to call him a teammate now.”
Bullock, 30, was the 25th overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. In addition to the Clippers and Knicks, he also has played for the Phoenix Suns, the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers during his eight NBA seasons.
Nico Harrison, the general manager and president of basketball operations for the Mavs, acknowledged that targeting players of Bullock’s ilk this summer was one of the team’s high priorities.
“Definitely we wanted to improve shooting, and then also versatility,” Harrison said. “Players that can play and defend multiple positions, so it was absolutely a key.”
In 366 career games – including 202 starts – Bullock is averaging 7.6 points and shooting 43.3 percent from the floor, including a highly respectable 39.2 percent from behind the 3-point line. He also is a very solid defender.
“When it comes to shooting the ball, that’s one thing that I pride myself on,” Bullock said. “And obviously guarding the other team’s best player or guarding whoever is on the other end, I take great pride in that. “
Indeed, Bullock is looking forward to giving the Mavs an up close and personal look at his resume when training camp starts on Sept. 28.
“I’m just ready to be out there and compete with my teammates and us going out there and trying to bring W’s back,” he said. “That’s my main goal for this team and I’m just excited and ready to get it started.”