Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Pelicans trade for Bulls Nikola Mirotic

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Isaac Mcdaniel | 03 February, 2018, 02:01

That's a smart play that you might've expected to have been negotiated Tuesday to ensure that a deal landing the rebuilding Bulls another first-round draft pick was completed. Sending out another first round pick is hard (sounds like it will be a lightly protected 2018 selection) but the Pelicans have boxed themselves into needing to stay competitive.

The Bulls knew all that, knew they had no leverage with Mirotic, but yet, they failed or chose not to negotiate a second deal or a concurrent shadow deal that would've accounted for the possibility of Mirotic saying no.

By trading Asik, Allen and Nelson, the Pelicans have created an open roster spot, which would allow them to sign soon-to-be free agent center-forward Greg Monroe, who reached a buyout deal with Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. He was making $17.8 million in the final season of a three-year, $50 million deal.

The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Mirotic is having a spectacular season, averaging 16.8 points per game while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point range. After the trade went through officially, Mirotic took to Twitter to thank the city of Chicago and the dedication that Bulls fans have shown.

Indeed, the trade quadruples down on the Bulls' rebuild undertaken with last June's trade of Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves. Operating below the salary floor now and with no designs of playoff contention in 2018-'19, the Bulls were willing to absorb the bad contract. The Bulls are 14-11 with Mirotic this season and 4-22 without.

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"Acquiring the $12.5M Nikola Mirotic contract now has New Orleans $1.6M below the luxury tax and $2.2M below the hard cap".

But the Bulls are believed to have requested a first-round draft pick in any deal for Mirotic and will not be prepared to listen to offers without one.

We'll update this post if any further details emerge. Tellingly, when asked about waiving players, Paxson said a week remains until the February 8 deadline.

The Pelicans will guarantee the second year ($12.5 million) of Mirotic's contract, Wojnarowski reports, a sticking point in earlier negotiations.

Shortly after, Mirotic's representation made it known that he wanted out of Chicago, even though he wouldn't be eligible to be traded until January 15.

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