The 2018 NBA Trade Deadline is almost certain to find Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic suiting up in a different uniform. In the midst of the impending move, reports speculate that the Portland Trail Blazers could become involved in the situation.
Rohan Nadkarni of SI/The Crossover talks about Mirotic’s attraction, and Chicago’s need to move him.
After a devastating punch from Bobby Portis threatened to turn his season into a punchline (no pun intended, I promise), Mirotic has recovered well. His spirited play greatly aided the Bulls’ brief midseason revival—Chicago actually has a +2.9 net rating with Mirotic on the court. He won’t help you much on the defensive end, but Mirotic is shooting the lights out. He’s at 47% from three on nearly six attempts per game, and his height allows you to play with some stretchy lineups.
One thing to note here is that Mirotic is going to shoot almost every time he touches the ball. He’s an absolute chucker, so it’s probably best to keep him on the bench lest he hijack the offense from your best players. Utah is reportedly already in the mix for Mirotic, but I’d personally love to see him in places like Washington or Portland.
Marc Stein of the New York Times affirms the likelihood of a trade and elaborates on potential compensation.
The prospect of Mirotic being moved before the Feb. 8 trade deadline looks increasingly likely, league sources say, with a deal potentially hinging on the level of draft compensation Chicago gets— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 9, 2018
KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune links the Blazers tenuously with the trade talks.
Can confirm Pistons have shown preliminary interest in Mirotic, per source. @TheSteinLine 1st. Also told Portland could join mix with Jazz and Pistons. Bulls motivated to get 1st round pick for Niko.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 9, 2018
As previously reported, the emergence of Markkanen, plus Mirotic eyeing big payday in 2020 free agency at time LaVine, Dunn on or due big deals, paint Bulls as motivated sellers.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 9, 2018
Finally, Stein explains that Mirotic may not have a lot to say about the move.
Important to note: If the Bulls pick up their team option on Nikola Mirotic for next season before trading him, Mirotic would lose his current veto power over a trade as because his current contract would become a two-year deal.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 9, 2018
The 26-year-old forward is averaging 17.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on 49% shooting from the field, 47% from the arc in 17 games for the Bulls this season. He holds career averages of 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds on 42% shooting, 36% from distance. He’s making $12.5 million this season with a team option at the same rate for 2018-19.