Post-Blake Griffin trade, I hypothesized that Jerry West and the Clippers would turn the eye of Sauron onto Dell Demps & Mickey Loomis with the Pelicans for there next move. Unfortunately for Clipperland, GarPax beat them to the target and were able to offload Nikola Mirotic at a high point for his stock, in return for a first round pick and three salary cap matching veterans.
The Pelicans were dealing from a position of extreme weakness following the shocking tear to Boogie’s Achilles tendon. Not only is that injury career threatening (see Wes Matthews), but convincing Anthony Davis that they are a win-now franchise is priority number one.
Some may look at the trade and see the Bulls not getting enough, but Mirotic may have already started to come back to Earth after his Falcon 9 start to the season with a nine-game win streak and shooting over 47% from three in December. In January, he has returned to 38.5% from the field and 15.2 points per game. The Bulls have turned what will be only the Pelicans Number 3 option without Boogie Cousins into about the 14th – 20th pick in next year’s draft. Contention point number two, the Bulls had to absorb the woebegone contracts of Jameer Nelson, Tony Allen, and Omer Asik. Allen and Nelson may be waived. There are some signs that Bulls may keep Nelson because apparently it is impossible for the Bulls to have too many point guards. Finally, the Asik deal is one of the league’s worst, but the Bulls actually need that deal to reach the hard salary cap floor imposed by the NBA. Yes, anyone in the world can find a better use for the nearly $19 million owed to Asik, but then again this is why you trade with the Pelicans they have poor management and ownership. Even the Sacramento Kings figured that out!
Good luck to Mirotic in NOLA and I am just happy that this deal turned out much better than Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott for Cameron Payne, or Jordan Bell for $3 million. Let’s be honest the Bulls had to move Mirotic and every team knew it, which is not a great place to have to make a deal from. Mirotic got knocked out in the middle of practice by Bobby Portis and there was almost no rumor or drum beat for Portis to be traded. Maybe there was a reason for that.