We may* have ourselves a Nikola Mirotic trade: NBCSportsChicago’s Vincent Goodwill reporting that the Bulls are sending out Niko to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Bulls are getting a first round pick, but also are taking on former Bull Omer Asik in the deal.
*still not confirmed by anybody but Goodwill, who’s been spotty in the past. And now Woj chimes in to say it’s ‘fallen apart for now’
Asik makes $10.6 million this season and nearly $11.3m next year, followed by a $3m guaranteed money in the 2019-20 season that the Bulls could buyout.
The first round draft pick is obviously the prize. That pick is at No. 18 right now, but after losing DeMarcus Cousins for the season, that number could drop if the New Orleans Pelicans start losing, even with them now having Mirotic to help. Interestingly, the Bulls now own both New Orleans picks this summer, having picked up their 2nd rounder to take on Quincy Pondexter.
Upon first glance it’s an interesting setting of the market to take on bad money. Theoretically that Asik contract is worth a first rounder, and Niko himself possibly worth a first rounder. In practice, the Bulls received a single first for both ‘assets’.
Mirotic had missed the past couple days of practice, reportedly with a ‘lower leg issue’, but now it looks to have been a bit of the trade flu. Niko’s been fairly brilliant since returning from teammate face-breakage, though not playing a ton of minutes, and that very teammate (Bobby Portis) now moves up in the rotation.