The Chicago Bulls have decided that forward Nikola Mirotic will sit out until after the February 8 trade deadline passes, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Earlier today, Johnson reported that Mirotic would come off the bench versus the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, but it appears that is no longer the case.
Bulls have decided that Niko Mirotic will not play again until the trade deadline passes as the organization continues working on finding a deal that makes sense for both sides.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 31, 2018
New development: Bulls now say Mirotic will not play vs. Trail Blazers and for immediate future.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 31, 2018
Mirotic has wanted out of Chicago since he and teammate Bobby Portis got into a physical fight last October. The altercation left Mirotic with a concussion and a fractured face when Portis connected with a punch. Mirotic missed the first 23 games of the season, while Portis served an eight-game suspension.
Since his return, Mirotic has boosted his trade value with excellent play, averaging career-highs in nearly all statistical categories. He was nearly sent to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Omer Asik and a first-round draft pick earlier this week, but the deal fell apart, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Mirotic’s initial preference was to be traded to the Utah Jazz, a team that has renewed its interest following the bungled Pelicans deal, according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune. However, other teams may be interested in the services of the talented pick-and-pop four. It seems likely that Mirotic will be moved once the right structure is agreed upon.
Will the Portland Trail Blazers seek to add a support player like Mirotic or Evans for a playoff push?