Bulls reportedly trading Nikola Mirotic to Pelicans

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In exchange, the Bulls will get the Pelicans' 2018 first round pick, which will come with a top-five protection, according to NBA TV's David Aldridge. Allen will be waived immediately, although Nelson's status remains undetermined. That's a smart play if dumping Mirotic for a good return was as important to the Bulls as it appears to be.

How could the Bulls think Mirotic would risk losing a guaranteed $12.5 million?

Clearly, the Pelicans needed to upgrade their frontcourt talent. In three-plus seasons with the Bulls, Mirotic averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. That had been a sticking point in a deal earlier in the week, but with further negotiations the two sides worked things out.

Mirotic is averaging 16 points a game with the Bulls. Defensively he may create some matchup issues and isn't a ideal fix, but staying aggressive makes some level of sense for the Pelicans philosophically as they aim to preserve position in the standings. This deal also could still leave the Pelicans enough room to pursue Suns big man Greg Monroe, ESPN reported. Now that the guarantee of salary has been made, the deal can officially go through.

"Niko's representatives were consistent over the last several months that they wanted him moved".

Boston has the advantage of using part of its $8.4 million disabled player exception gained after the Gordon Hayward injury to sign Monroe, which would give them the ability to pay him more than teams that could only offer the veteran's minimum.

Even before the October 17 practice altercation in which teammate Bobby Portis punched Mirotic in the face, sending him to the hospital with two broken bones and a concussion, there were hard feelings building between Mirotic and his teammates.

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Nelson and Allen were both in their first season with the Pelicans. That means Mirotic would likely be on the move again.

New Orleans lost DeMarcus Cousins for the year with a torn Achilles tendon, which sucks on many different levels.

With a record of 27-23, the Pelicans were in line for the No. 17 pick in the draft entering play Thursday night.

The Bulls had also held discussions with the Jazz about Mirotic recently as well, a source said. Chicago has to get worse before it can get better, and turning over added minutes to the fast-improving Lauri Markkaken (and to a lesser degree, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio) is the right decision.

The Pels owe Asik $10.5 million this season, $11.2 million next season, and an additional $3 million in the 2019-2020 season, according to Wojnarowski's report.

More importantly, so did the Bulls.

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