Latest On Nikola Mirotic

4:37pm: The Bulls will hold Mirotic out of games while they attempt to trade him, a source tells Goodwill (Twitter link). According to ESPN’s Nick Friedell (Twitter link), Mirotic won’t play until after the trade deadline or until Chicago completes a deal.

1:00pm: For a brief time on Tuesday, it appeared that the Pelicans and Bulls were about to finalize a deal that would send Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans. In fact, according to Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago, an agreement was so close that Mirotic was pulled off the Bulls’ practice floor and left the facility, believing that his time in Chicago was ending.

Instead, the trade hit a snag — or, more accurately, a pair of related snags. Until Mirotic’s $12.5MM team option for 2018/19 is exercised, he has the ability to block any trade that involves him, and as K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tweets, the power forward is unwilling to approve a move to New Orleans without that option being picked up.

Conversely, the Pelicans like the idea of having flexibility with that ’18/19 option, since exercising it may complicate the team’s ability to sign DeMarcus Cousins to a new mega-deal. New Orleans would still have the ability to re-sign Cousins, but with both big men on board for next season, the team would likely go over the tax line, a threshold ownership has been reluctant to cross.

According to Johnson, neither Mirotic nor the Pelicans appear willing to change their stance on that $12.5MM option for now, so it’s not clear if the Bulls and Pels will be able to make a deal before the February 8 deadline. I’m somewhat surprised the option is a sticking point for New Orleans — given the way Mirotic has been playing, his $12.5MM expiring deal should be pretty tradable this July, if necessary. But perhaps the Pelicans don’t want take the risk of Mirotic suffering a major injury or having his value decline in the coming months.

With talks between the Bulls and Pelicans at an impasse, the Jazz have continued their pursuit of Mirotic, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. However, the Jazz remain reluctant to include a first-round pick in their offer, according to Jones. Goodwill adds that the Bulls are “enamored with” Utah’s Rodney Hood, but says that the Jazz have been unwilling to part with Hood in a Mirotic deal thus far.

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11 thoughts on “Latest On Nikola Mirotic

  1. yoyo137

    Man, nobody is taking Mirotic and his option for next year and giving up a 1st. If Niko is for real, he can go prove himself to whoever acquires him and earn the option for next year if Chicago really wants a 1st for him. Though it seems like it’ll be taking a bad contract with the 1st

      • yoyo137

        Not really, this is easily his career year so far. And I’m talking about his value relative to a 1st rounder considering they pick up his option. Niko at 12.5 for Asik and a first is not as appealing as unloading Asik with a first and getting an expiring Niko contract.

  2. JBHoops

    I am confused why Niko wants his option picked up. He’s not going to make the super max anywhere so why does he care about bird rights? He can just be a free agent. If he plays as well as he has, he’ll make at least $12+ mil per year. Probably better.

    • The problem is that not many teams will have cap space, meaning Mirotic might make considerably less than 12.5 mil. If you recall, way back when the cap was in the high 50s and stayed fairly flat, it was pretty routine for mid tier FA’s (think 3rd or 4th starter, or maybe a sixth man) to get only the mid level exception, whereas in the last few years role players have gotten more than that. Avery Bradley, for instance, would have been a classic MLE guy in the past, but will make a lot more.

      Mirotic wants Bird Rights so his team will outbid the MLE to keep him.

  3. rxbrgr

    You’d think that New Orleans should be able to see Mirotic is eminently more movable when compared to Asik. So mixing this trade REDUCES their flexibility for next offseason.

    • Luke Adams

      I guess the logic is that if they’re going to give up a first-rounder to move Asik’s salary, they want to be absolutely sure they’ll avoid Boogie/tax issues. But yeah, it’s a bit odd to me.

  4. chgobangbang

    Maybe they know he wants out of chgo and chgo mental midget squad of garpax want him out so they are playing waiting game with chgo?

  5. Z-A

    Frye + Rose + Cedi + Cavs own pick. Rose can retire as a Bull at end of the season.

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