LION Newspaper

Grading the Nikola Mirotic Trade

Back to Article
Back to Article

Grading the Nikola Mirotic Trade

Luke Lusson and Grant Campbell, Sports Editor, News Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

6 votes

After trade talks between the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans came to halt on Tuesday, the two sides finally agreed on a deal today. Chicago will send Nikola Mirotic and a 2018 second round pick in exchange for Omer Asik, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson and a 2018 first-round pick that is top five protected. Chicago will also have the right to swap 2021 second-round picks with New Orleans.

Following the trade, multiple reports have been released saying that the Bulls plan on waiving Allen and Quincy Pondexter as a way to make room for Asik and Nelson. It has also been reported that the Chicago 2018 second-round pick was included to entice the Pelicans to pick up Mirotic’s $12.5 million option. That option is what put trade talks between Chicago and New Orleans at a standstill on Tuesday.

It has become well known throughout the season that the Bulls have planned on dealing Mirotic. Now that a deal has finally been agreed upon, take a look at what grades Luke Lusson and Grant Campbell are giving the Bulls on this move and why.


Luke’s Grade: B+

The fact of the matter is that the Bulls got what they needed out of Mirotic, which was a first-round pick. Even better yet, this year’s Pelicans pick should only get higher and higher for the Bulls now that DeMarcus Cousins is out for the year with a torn achilles. The pick is top-five protected, but I don’t see it getting anywhere near that high in the draft order since the Pelicans are currently in the Western Conference playoffs. I’d say the pick will end up somewhere in the 10-15 range in this year’s upcoming draft, which to me is a good enough return for Mirotic.

With that being said, the extra players (Asik and Nelson) that the Bulls are adding to the roster are not ideal, particularly Asik, who makes upwards of $10 million a year. While these new Bulls players certainly don’t look to be apart of the future plans, they still can take up cap space for the time being and take valuable minutes away from young players. Take Christiano Felicio for example, the young Brazilian center who Chicago signed over the summer to a 4-year, $32 million deal. He hasn’t gotten many minutes this season to begin with, but it’s hard to imagine that the acquisition of Asik will help Felicio’s development in any way.

With this in mind, it would have been better off for the Bulls had the Tuesday trade had gone through, which would have only sent Asik and the first-round pick to Chicago. However, it was the Chicago second round pick and the extra New Orleans players that persuaded the Pelicans to pick up Mirotic’s option, so it’s understandable that this is the way it ended up going down.

Overall, the Bulls got what they had always wanted for Mirotic, and that’s the first-round pick. It would’ve been nice to get some better players in the deal alongside a pick, someone like Rodney Hood from Utah, but it seems as though Mirotic is worth nothing more than a draft pick to teams around the league. He may be having the best year of his career, but Mirotic is the type of player to go through extreme highs and lows due to his jump shot dependent style of play. So for those that think that the Bulls got nothing near what they could have in return for Mirotic, let’s remember how we felt about him not too long ago when his shot seemed to never fall.

What I liked most about this whole Mirotic situation for the Bulls is that they stayed patient and waited for their type of offer to come, one that included a high draft pick. A deal could have been made last week for only Derrick Favors from Utah, but instead the Bulls took their time and waited for a team like the Pelicans to come calling for Mirotic. That to me signals a solid trade and a solid grade.


Grant’s Grade:  A-

For the first time in a while, “GarPax” refused to budge on their trade demands.  Just days ago, the same trade proposal fell through, likely due to hesitations from the Pelicans’ front office on whether they should send a first-round pick to the Bulls to compensate Omer Asik’s absurd contract.

Overall, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Bulls’ front office in this trade.

Standing by your demands is crucial for any NBA front office.  They made it clear that to deal a top player on their roster and absorb an overpaid salary from Asik would require draft considerations. Standing by this demand is what generated my approval.

After a season-ending injury to their star center DeMarcus Cousins, the seventh seed Pelicans were desperate to fill the gap in their rotation, and the Bulls front office noted that.  It was obvious that the Bulls were actively shopping Mirotic, hoping for a decent return for his career season before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.  They struck gold on this trade, amid the Pelicans’ desperation.  They didn’t take advantage of the Pelicans, but they won this trade.

Sure, Mirotic is having a great season in his short stint thus far, but the Bulls clearly need to focus on the future of the team.  They will have a solid lottery pick in this year’s draft, and the trade gives them another pick in a draft class that has many respectable young players.  But this is where the trade could become interesting.

All-star Anthony Davis has undeniable talent, but losing a starter who averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game is detrimental to their hopes of success in the playoffs.  Looking at the roster of New Orleans, they lack any type of supporting cast from their bench.  Jrue Holiday is one of the streakier players in the league, so Davis will likely have to carry the team through the playoffs; that is, if they even make the playoffs.  At the seventh seed, the Clippers are only two-and-a-half games away from overtaking them.  If New Orleans loses their footing in the regular season and falls out of the playoffs, that’s TWO lottery picks for the Bulls.  

In all honesty, this deal doesn’t make very much sense for the Pelicans.  First, they’re in the Western Conference.  Being matched up against Stephen Curry and the Warriors or James Harden and the Rockets is nearly impossible to beat, even with Cousins.  Therefore, the likelihood of them making it out of their first playoff match-up is unlikely.  Second, Mirotic is having the best start to his career for one reason: he’s knocking down his 3-point attempts.  Shooting 42% is the main cause of his nearly 17 ppg average this season.  The second that Mirotic hits a shooting slump, you lose his scoring ability and feel the pressure of his lack of defensive ability.  

All things said, I’m excited for the future of the Chicago Bulls.  They have a great young core in Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine.  Add two potential lottery picks in this year’s draft, and you have a dangerous team in a few years.  The future begins now, Bulls fans.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.


Navigate Left
Navigate Right
The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years
Grading the Nikola Mirotic Trade