Nikola Mirotic’s days in Chicago could be numbered. According to Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago, the Pelicans and Bulls are reportedly closing in on a deal Tuesday that could send the disgruntled wing to New Orleans in exchange for big man Omer Asik.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the two sides were still in “advanced talks” on a deal. It appears as if the two sides needed to iron the details out in relation to Mirotic’s second-year option. Unless the Pelicans or Bulls pick up and guarantee the money in his second year, Mirotic’s no-trade clause gives him full control over any deal.
Whether this trade does eventually happen or not comes down to Mirotic’s no-trade clause and team option. He doesn’t plan to approve a trade without a guarantee that his team option will be picked up. As a result, the sides as of Wednesday are at a standstill.
However, it’s well known that Mirotic wants to get out of Chicago. With the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline coming up this could come down to who blinks first. What does Mirotic want more — to leave Chicago or to get his second year guaranteed?
If this deal does end up going through then the Pelicans would pick up a very necessary shooter and some much-needed cap relief. The shooting will benefit them as they try to make a run at the playoffs, and moving Asik’s contract would give New Orleans future flexibility to make more moves.
This deal also would also be a major benefit to Chicago. The Bulls are trading away a player that doesn’t want to be there in return for a bad contract and a first-round pick. That’s exactly the kind of deal a rebuilding team would target — use an asset to bring in a better asset.