(670 The Score) Nikola Mirotic’s time with the Bulls appears to be winding down.
Eligible to be traded Monday and with the rebuilding Bulls keeping the big picture in focus, Mirotic has found himself amid growing trade speculation. Early this week, the Jazz emerged as a suitor, according to multiple reports. On Tuesday, news broke that the Pistons have expressed preliminary interest in Mirotic as well, the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported.
After missing the first 23 games of the season with a concussion and facial fractures suffered in a punch from teammate Bobby Portis in training camp, the 26-year-old Mirotic is having a career year. He’s averaging 17.4 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 46.5 percent on 3-pointers, the third-best mark in the league.
Mirotic signed a two-year deal with a team option for the second season just prior to the start of training camp. He currently holds a no-trade clause, but if the Bulls pick up the second year of his contract he loses that veto right. Beyond that, he’s believed to want out of Chicago anyway because of the tension with Portis.
The Bulls have their sights set on receiving a first-round pick in a Mirotic trade. The Jazz own all their picks, including extra second-rounders in 2021 and 2022, but as they’re tied for the 10th-worst mark in the league and a loaded draft awaiting, it seems unlikely they’d be willing to part with a first-rounder in 2018. The teams could get around that by Utah including protections on the first-round pick that causes it to convey in later years or by getting a third team involved in a trade.
The Pistons own all their first-round picks right now. They sit just outside the lottery now, residing in the seventh spot in the East.
The Blazers also are a prime candidate to join the Mirotic sweepstakes, the Tribune’s K.C. Johnson reported.