February 17, 2018

Pelicans trade for Nicola Mirotic, send Asik to Chicago

03 February 2018, 01:59 | Marlene Fleming

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Nikola Mirotic

On Thursday, Mirotic was traded from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for a package that included center Omer Asik, guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson, and a first-round pick. The Bulls will waive Quincy Pondexter in order to facilitate the deal, and are likely also to waive Allen once the deal is complete.

The Chicago Bulls have agreed to trade Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Montenegro-born Spaniard reportedly rejected a proposed trade to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday because the Pelicans wouldn't commit to picking up his $12.5 million option for next season.

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Ultimately, I think this is a better deal for the Bulls than it looks at first glance, if not necessarily a good one. This will be the big man's second stint with Chicago; he played for them from 2010-2012, his first two seasons in the league. Asik is guaranteed about $14.3 million over two seasons after this year, which seems like a lot. Since Mirotic came back, he has posted career highs in points per game (16.8), rebounds (6.4), assists (1.6), true shooting percentage (.624), PER (22.2), and win shares per 48 minutes (.165). 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. He did not play Wednesday night against Portland due to the pending trade. And that's in terms of how I would value the picks; in practice, it's generally more expensive to trade up, so from the league's perspective Chicago probably got the equivalent of something like the 25th pick for Mirotic.

According to multiple reports, Mirotic will head to the Pelicans with his 2018-19 contract option picked up by the team. The Bulls absorbed the $10.6 million that Asik is making this season into the trade exception they owned from the Butler trade last June. However, the Bulls can stretch that out before next season and just pay out $2.9 million over five years - a negligible price given their current situation. The team isn't expected to keep Allen, instead opting to release him after the trade.

We'll update this post if any further details emerge.

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