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Rumor: Pistons might try to bring back Reggie Bullock

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At the NBA trade deadline, as the Lakers desperately scrambled to try to recover from their roster building mistakes of the summer (shooting? who needs shooting?), the Detroit Pistons traded swingman Reggie Bullock to Los Angeles for rookie Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2021 second-round pick.

Now the Pistons might try to bring Bullock back — and he’s open to the idea, so long as he is getting paid.

The Pistons are considering the idea, reports James Edwards III at The Athletic. Bullock would be open to it.

Before the trade, a source close to Bullock said the 28-year-old was willing to return to the Pistons once he hit unrestricted free agency if “the money was right.” Bullock became, at minimum, a more-than-serviceable role player in three-and-a-half seasons with Detroit, and he appreciated the opportunity given to him by the organization. The source also said Bullock enjoyed his role as second fiddle to Blake Griffin in the Pistons’ oft-used DHO actions. Furthermore, Bullock is fond of the Michigan lifestyle, per the source.

Following the trade, the source said that Bullock understood the business aspect of the decision and would still be willing to return to the Pistons as a free agent if, again, the finances were in order. Bullock has been in the league since 2013 and hasn’t made more than $2.5 million in a season.

About the money… The Pistons are capped out — they are already about $3 million over the cap for next season — because they will pay Blake Griffin $34.5 million, Andre Drummond $27.1 million, and Reggie Jackson $18.1 million. What the Pistons will have is the non-taxpayer mid-level exception of $9.3 million (which can be divided up) and the bi-annual exception at $3.6 million. The Bi-annual is likely not enough to land Bullock at this point, but can they get him for around $8 million of the taxpayer exception? What will Bullock’s price be on the open market as a solid 3&D wing?

Bullock will have a few options this summer (once the dust settles on the top players), but a return to Detroit is something to keep an eye on.

Chris Paul posts emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

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Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant were tight.

The shocking death of Kobe Bryant — along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash — hit CP3 hard and the point guard missed his first game of the year Monday, sitting out as he tried to come to grips with it all. Kobe and Paul won Gold Medals together, their kids were friends, and they competed fiercely against each other on the court. 

Tuesday night, Paul posted this personal tribute to Kobe.

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I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully process it. My parents have always said everything happens for a reason and its in God’s plan. But this one is different. Broken fingers, torn Achilles, it didn’t matter. You overcame it all!! You were DIFFERENT! Sometimes we competed so hard against each other that you could never tell how I was always watching YOU!! I needed to see how much better I needed to get and how much harder I needed to work! The love you had for the game was nowhere near the love you had for YOUR girls!! All 5 of them!! And Gigi, who we had already prearranged her marriage with lil Chris, is as beautiful and feisty as she could ever be!!! As I’ve watched you in retirement, as happy as you’ve ever been, I’ve sat back and prayed and hoped that my baby girl will look at me the way Gigi looks at you!!! I Love You and will miss you with all my heart my brother!!! All my love to Vanessa and all the families during this time 🙏🏾 #Mamba4Life #Mambacita

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Like Paul, a lot of us are struggling to process it all.

Watch Jerry West’s emotional memories of trading for/his relationship with Kobe Bryant

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Jerry West has never understood why people thought he was brilliant for recognizing the talent of a 17-year-old Kobe Bryant coming out of high school. To him it was obvious.

If it had been obvious (and if that era had not frowned on the development that came with drafting high school players), Kobe wouldn’t have been a Laker, and NBA history might be very different.

For West, Kobe was not just another player, he was like a son. West talked about it on the well done TNT special commemorating Kobe Tuesday night.

What those neatly packaged TNT clip does not show is just how difficult and emotional it was for West to talk about Kobe.

West has had a life of incredible highs, but also more lows and pain than many — abused by his father and battling depression his entire life — and this is another emotional tax on the NBA legend.

Joel Embiid returns to Philadelphia rotation after nine-game absence

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When you saw the image of Joel Embiid‘s dislocated ring finger facing a direction no finger should face, you knew he was going to miss some time (even though he had it taped up and returned to that game). Embiid had surgery to repair a torn radial collateral ligament on the ring finger of his left hand. Ultimately he missed nine games while he recovered.

Tuesday night against the Warriors, Embiid will be back.

He will have a soft wrap on his left hand that has been cleared by the league.

Philadelphia went 6-3 while Embiid was out.

Ben Simmons stepped up — in his last five games (before Tuesday) he averaged 24 points a game on 70.6 percent shooting, plus 10 rebounds and 8.6 assists a game. Without Embiid in the paint or taking up touches, Simmons took over the offense and looked much more comfortable in his role.

However, the Sixers’ offensive rating in those nine Embiid-less games was 104.9, 29th in the NBA (even in the last five it was 103.2, still 29th in the league). Simmons may have been playing better but the offense was not.

When Simmons and Embiid share the court this season, their offensive rating is 106.7 — not great, but better than without Embiid playing.

Victor Oladipo returns to Pacers Wednesday, likely off bench with minutes limit

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Indiana has gone 30-17 this season and sits as the five seed in the Eastern Conference — and Wednesday they get their best player back.

Victor Oladipo — the former Most Improved Player and All-NBA team member who has been out for most of a year with a right quad tendon rupture — practiced with the Pacers on Tuesday and, as expected, will make his return to the court Wednesday night against the Bulls.

Coach Nate McMillan would not say how he planned to use Oladipo but, considering the minutes limit, off the bench seems the most likely move. McMillan said the team would revisit the minutes and role after the All-Star break.

While Milwaukee has separated itself atop the East, the next five teams — Miami, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, and Indiana — are all within 2.5 games of each other and could end up in any order. If Oladipo can return close to the All-NBA form he was in prior to his injury, the Pacers become a big threat to break out of that group. If nothing else, they become a much tougher out in the postseason.