With the offseason that the Phoenix Suns have just had, it would be selfish to ask any more of owner Mat Ishbia and General Manager James Jones. Not only did they acquire Bradley Beal, but they finally moved on from center Deandre Ayton as well.
In between those two tentpole moments for the franchise, they did a fantastic job of signing several high level free agents to minimum deals to come and play with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. So good was the job done, that several of these players are also genuine assets for the organization moving forward.
Although their roster is currently full, the Suns have missed out the ideal role player for this group, with Reggie Bullock headed to the Houston Rockets.
Bullock, last with the Dallas Mavericks, recently cleared waivers after being traded to the San Antonio Spurs this summer in the three-team deal that sent Grant Williams from the Boston Celtics to the Mavericks.
As reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, Bullock now plans on signing with the Rockets once the required paperwork around waived players has been completed. This is a sneaky good pickup for the Rockets, who finally have some adults in the room in the form of Fred VanVleet, former Suns fan favorite Jock Landale and… Dillon Brooks we guess?
Not that the Suns should be worried about the Rockets given their own lofty ambitions, but that group being put together in Houston is a frisky one. Bullock doesn’t swing a series – or even a couple of wins – the way of his expected new employers, but he could have done just that for the Suns.
Right now they have too many players after getting four players back in the deal that sent Ayton to the Portland Trail Blazers. They also took some flyers this summer on the likes of Bol Bol and Chimezie Metu. Individuals who could work out with this loaded roster, but who are still raw.
Had the Suns known Bullock was going to become available, perhaps they would have held out a roster spot for him. Eric Gordon and Yuta Watanabe both possess similar skill sets to Bullock. That of an elite scorer from 3-point range, while also being an above average defender. Gordon is clearly the best defender of the three, but Bullock is certainly on Watanabe’s level.
Besides, you can never have too many of these players anyway. For all the potential that Bol has, even he doesn’t know if he is a big or a guard with this current Suns group. He literally said as much at media day recently, and while it is not solely on him to figure that out, it can be hard to find room for a giant of a man who is more interested in dribbling and scoring than defending.
Bullock on the other hand is a known quantity – and what he does do – he does extremely well. Now 32-years-old, he certainly falls under the category of veteran who surely wants to try and win it all. Something he will not get to do with the Rockets this season, although they could yet trade him if the right offer comes along.
Back in 2021-22, Bullock started all 18 of the Mavericks’ postseason games, as they went all the way to the Western Conference Finals. He took over seven attempts from deep per game across those three series, and poured in a shade under 40 percent of these shots.
For all of the talk about what a great get Watanabe is for the Suns, and he certainly is that, Bullock has actually proven he can do on a big stage what the Suns hope Watanabe can do. He may not do much more than that offensively, but when you have three superstars, you don’t need anything else.
Bullock was able to make a living for two seasons playing next to Luka Doncic, and being deemed good enough defensively to remain on the court as the stakes got higher. That is not something that is easily found in the league, where a lot of players go missing when the games really start to matter.
The Suns might not be losing too much sleep over this right now, especially after a wholly positive media day. But if Bol and Metu don’t work out, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson (gotten in the Ayton trade) aren’t up to much, and Damion Lee struggles to come back from injury, all of a sudden a player like Bullock becomes more valuable to a contender.
Imagine a lineup with Booker running the show and Durant at the five for a few minutes, with Watanabe, Gordon and Bullock surrounding them. That would be a turbo charged offensive group that would torch opponents, all while Beal caught his breath on the bench. A missed opportunity, but not one the Suns even thought was possible when they were building their roster.