We had heard the rumblings of Nikola Mirotic's discontent with Real Madrid last week, and it appears Mirotic is truly prepared to leave Spain and come to the NBA:
Source tells HoopsHype Nikola Mirotic's decision to go to Chicago is final. Will pay contract buyout at more than $3 million.— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) July 4, 2014
But while Mirotic may be ready to come to the Bulls, are the Bulls prepared to offer him the contract he wants? When the rumors about Mirotic leaving Real Madrid first surfaced, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times said the Bulls weren't aware of him being ready to come over. And with the Bulls still in a bit of a free-agent holding pattern, it's unclear what their plans are with Mirotic, although K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune said the Bulls could become much more aggressive in a pursuit of the youngster if they whiff on their top targets.
The odds of landing Carmelo Anthony are dwindling by the second, and the Plan B for some reason appears to be Pau Gasol. Landing Gasol could be a real good selling point for Mirotic, although I'm not sure the Bulls would be able to fit both players under the cap with a simple amnesty of Carlos Boozer. An amnesty of Boozer gets the Bulls to about $10.3 million in cap space (technically $9.7 million with Mirotic's cap hold), so that could be tight to fit both players. The Bulls could attempt to sign-and-trade for Gasol and then use the mid-level exception on Mirotic, but I'm not crazy about overpaying Pau at all.
For me, Mirotic is a trade chip in an all-out assault on the Wolves for Kevin Love. But if for some reason that didn't come to fruition, it's nice to see that Mirotic will almost certainly be over here next season.
The Bulls are working on signing F Nikola Mirotic, sources told ESPN. He secured buyout today from Real Madrid according to @hoopshype— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 4, 2014
This doesn't mean the Bulls pursuit of Carmelo Anthony is over but the cap space required to sign Mirotic restricts options.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 4, 2014