Nikola Mirotic freed himself from his Spanish league contract last month only after the Bulls made a commitment not to trade him, a source tells David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune. Fellow Tribune scribe K.C. Johnson had reported that the 6’10” forward had sought such assurances, but it hadn’t been clear whether the Bulls had responded. Chicago reportedly offered Mirotic to the Timberwolves this week as part of a package for Kevin Love, but Mirotic and his representatives at Xpheres Basketball Management are under the impression that Chicago has made him a part of no such offer.
Agent Igor Crespo secured a 15% trade kicker for Mirotic that the Bulls would have to pay were they to deal him anywhere. The highly touted European prospect came away with a three-year deal worth more than $16.6MM after staying out of the NBA for three years after becoming the No. 23 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Remaining out of the league for so long meant he’d no longer be confined to the rookie scale once he did come to the NBA. A scale contract would have afforded him a salary of no more than $1.3MM for this season.
Mirotic became a star in Europe over the past few years while he waited to join the Bulls, and he’d no doubt have been a sought-after commodity if he’d been available on the free agent market. The offer the Bulls reportedly made involved Taj Gibson and 2014 No. 11 overall pick Doug McDermott in addition to Mirotic. Still, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times couldn’t confirm the presence of Mirotic’s name in the offer when he wrote that Gibson and McDermott were indeed on the table.