Despite his nearly three month hiatus from the Chicago Bulls this summer, Nikola Mirotic knew he wasn’t going anywhere.
Mirotic said he always knew he would re-sign with Bulls. Rejected 1st offer but always knew he'd either play on QO or new deal.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) September 26, 2017
In fact, he was so loyal to the Bulls that he didn’t even bother talking to any other teams about possibly signing for more than the $7.2 million qualifying offer the Bulls extended to him this summer.
Mirotic said all this when he met with reporters this afternoon for the first time since inking a brand new two-year, $27 million contract (second year is a team option) with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. Mirotic can also veto any trade in the first year of his contract.
Unlike in previous seasons, he came into training camp referring to himself in the third person, rekindling memories of when Jimmy Butler used to pull the same stunt.
Are forceful grasps at the team leadership role next for the bearded Montenegrin?
Mirotic: "I’m still the same Niko. I’m just expecting better Niko, more consistent."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) September 26, 2017
Except, he isn’t the same Nikola Mirotic. This summer he hit the weight room, and said that he moved up from 237 pounds last season to 260 pounds this season as a result.
It’s put up or shut up time for Mirotic who essentially begins a one-season tryout for the Bulls as the franchise decides whether they will pick up the team option on the second year of his new contract.