The Pelicans-Bulls Trade Involving Nikola Mirotic Is Back On

Hope Soto
February 2, 2018

In exchange, Chicago receives center Omer Asik, Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen and a 2018 first round pick with "minimal" protections.

The Montenegro product has averaged 16.8 points and more than six rebounds a game for Chicago this season.

Another first-round pick in a strong draft class.

Ever since National Basketball Association trade rumors started heating up this season, there has been plenty of speculation connecting the Chicago Bulls' stretch-four Nikola Mirotic with the Utah Jazz. Mirotic isn't a star-level talent, and New Orleans had to give up a valuable asset in order to entice the Bulls to take on Asik's contract.

In addition, Chicago will have the right to swap its 2021 second-round pick with New Orleans' own 2021 second-round pick. After reports came out surrounding the structure of the trade, it became clear that the two sides had not yet reached an agreement.

With a record of 27-23, the Pelicans were in line for the No. 17 pick in the draft entering play Thursday night. "They never backed off that stance one bit". More than that, it satisfies what we wanted to get out of moving him. But the Nikola Mirotic-Pelicans near-miss this week looks like they remarkably were extracting the value they placed on the player only to choose a negotiating approach that was sadly incomplete.

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By the way, color me impressed: I didn't believe the Bulls would able get a first-rounder for him alone.

The Pelicans guaranteed Mirotic's $12.5 million team option for next season, which had been the sticking point when Mirotic blocked a similar version of this trade Tuesday.

More importantly, so did the Bulls. Nelson is averaging 5.1 points in 20.9 minutes across 43 games this season. Since the Bulls are looking to tank and build a new roster, they can not, unfortunately, hold on to Mirotic and since his no-trade stipulation has expired, he is on the market. That would be especially great headed into this complicated New Orleans offseason, but whether that can happen remains to be seen.

This trade is unlikely to help the Pelicans much in the long term, though.

The immediate aftermath of the trade is interesting enough - the Pelicans definitely got better with it.

The Bulls have been in discussions with several teams about offloading the power forward and appeared to be very close to finalising a deal this week.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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