(670 The Score) An eventful Tuesday noon hour continued into the early afternoon with the Bulls and Pelicans continuing discussions on a trade that would send Niko Mirotic to New Orleans and a first-round pick back to Chicago.
After news broke that the teams were nearing a the completion of a deal, the talks stalled when it was believed that Mirotic pushed back by not yet agreeing to waive his no-trade clause, according to reports. Mirotic did that because he wants his $12.5 million team option picked up for 2018-’19, per reports. If the Bulls were to exercise that team option, Mirotic would lose his veto rights on a trade.
The Pelicans have expressed a hesitancy for the Bulls to pick up the Mirotic option for 2018-’19 because they’re uncertain if they’d want his $12.5 million salary on the books for that season. They’re in need of reinforcement after star DeMarcus Cousins suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last week.
As part of one proposed deal, the Pelicans were to send a first-round pick and center Omer Asik and possibly a third player back to the Bulls. Asik, 31, would be a salary dump, as he’s averaging 1.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 7.5 minutes across 13 games this season while being paid $10.6 million. He’s owed $11.3 million in 2018-’19 and then has a $3 million guarantee for 2019-’20.
The Pelicans could be looking to send another player back to the Bulls because of salary cap ramifications. The Bulls are below the salary floor, so they have no concern about taking on bad salary this season. Because they anticipate being in the lottery again in 2018-’19, theyy’re willing to absorb bad money that season too.
Mirotic has wanted a parting from teammates Bobby Portis since October, when Portis punched Mirotic, who then missed the first 23 games of the season with facial fractures and a concussion.
Amid the trade speculation, Mirotic was traveling with the team for a three-game road trip that starts at Portland on Wednesday night. Rookie big man Lauri Markkanen (personal reasons) and point guard Kris Dunn (concussion) weren’t traveling with the Bulls.