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Report: Nikola Mirotic joining Bulls for next season

Jul 4, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT


Nikola Mirotic is one of the world’s top players not in the NBA.

The Bulls traded up in the 2011 draft to get him at No. 23, and he’s played for Real Madrid since.

Now, the 23-year-old, who has another year remaining on his contract with the Spanish team, is reportedly ready to join the NBA.

Because the Bulls drafted Mirotic more than three years ago, they can use room rather than the rookie scale to sign him. Likely, it took a larger-than-scale offer to lure the promising forward – perhaps as much as the mid-level exception.

The Bulls can contribute just $600,000 to Mirotic’s buyout without adding to team salary. Anything else, structured as a signing bonus in his contract, would add to team salary and come out of Mirotic’s paycheck. Of course, they could potentially offer him a larger contract than they would otherwise in order to pay more of his buyout.

The bigger question is how the Bulls make room for Mirotic’s salary.

They currently have only the mid-level exception available, but they also might amnesty Carlos Boozer to clear cap room. Of course, some of that cap room had presumably been reserved for Carmelo Anthony.

This indicates a few possibilities:

1. The Bulls don’t believe they can sign Melo. Even if they have doubts, Melo planning to take the weekend to decide could lead to a quick resolution. I doubt Chicago would panic-sign Mirotic with money designated for Melo rather than waiting out Melo.

2. The Bulls believe they can sign-and-trade for Melo, which would leave the mid-level exception available for Mirotic. That comes with difficulties, namely Phil Jackson’s reported refusal to accept Boozer in a deal, but Jackson should be just posturing.

3. The Bulls have a plan – trading multiple rotation pieces, convincing Melo to take less money, convincing Mirotic to take less money or some combination thereof – to clear enough cap room to sign both Melo and Mirotic outright.

I trust Chicago knows what its doing with those two, and Melo obviously should take priority.But Mirotic has a place in all this, too. If Boozer isn’t long for Chicago and Taj Gibson replaces him in the starting lineup, Mirotic would slide nicely into the rotation.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Let’s see what the hype is all about

    • lagranderrota - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      Madrid fans are really tired of him. The season was, finally, disastrous and Niko dissapear in every marked game. Bad relationship, too, with his coach.

      Just saying…

      The talent is there, of course, this was never the issue.

      • lj312chicago - Jul 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        so I’m to believe you follow Euro Basketball in depth? I can’t stand message boards… many Real Madrid games did you watch this year? Because I watched almost 10 on NBAtv Sunday mornings….and Mirotic can straight ball….see I watched the games I just don’t steal other peoples opinions and push them on everyone else without knowing what I’m talking about….p.s. chris Broussard on ESPN obviously has no idea who he is either because he just butchered his name on sportscenter…

      • cancionisimas - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:39 PM

        Hi. I don’t get the angry, man.

        I am a Real Madrid ticket holder. I’ve seen all games this year. Euroleague, Liga Endesa and Copa del Rey (our only title in this sorry season).

      • cancionisimas - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        Sorry for the change of nickname, but i am the same idiot.

    • chitownlolo - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      The hype is REAL! In TWO YEARS this guy will BE Kevin Love or Dirk Nowitski. I hope we don’t mess it up and we KEEP HIM! Patience HAS TO BE one of our strongest assets! San Antonio built a dynasty through PATIENCE and NOT trading away all their young talent for a guy that is longer in the tooth (Melo), and gives you only 2 years of brilliance, while you have to eat the contract you gave him (Boozer). Let’s see him and Snell and McDermott and Bairstow and Randolph DEVELOP ON OUR TEAM and bring titles to US. Don’t give away ANOTHER Lamarcus Aldridge.

    • chitownlolo - Jul 5, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      gonna be good!

    • chitownlolo - Jul 5, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      Gonna be good

  2. gnu2308 - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Welcome to the Timberwolves.

    • mcjon22 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      And also welcome Taj Gibson, Tony Snell and 2 future 1st round draft picks…

      Kevin Love, welcome to Chicago

      • blackandbluedivision - Jul 4, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        Heck no. Why would they waste the talent…ESPECIALLY Taj Gibson on the same player in Kevin Love? AND 2 future 1st round picks? That’s plain stupid. Essentially 5 players for 1? Gibson and this guy combined plus the rookie they drafted give us one Kevin Love…with better defense.

      • purple4life2 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Black and Blue….so you’d rather have 3 players perform the job of what you could get from 1 guy? You must not believe in efficiency. With only 15 allowable player slots per team, efficiency is vital.

        Add Love and your 1st round picks are in the late 20’s anyway. Don’t add Love and you’ll get what you want, 3 players combining what you could get from 1 guy, therefore leaving holes in the roster at other positions and you can keep your 19th and 20th slotted first round picks for years to come, because you aren’t going too deep in playoffs. Not to mention approaching 30 year old Gibson vs 25 year old Love.

        Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Yours is just wrong here, IMO!

      • purple4life2 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        I’d personally like to see Love in Chicago. With Noah helping protect Love, a healthy Rose and Butler, I think that’s got #1 seed written all over it.

        From Pups standpoint, presumably getting Taj, Mirotic, Snell and a couple 1sts is a solid package. It’s not ideal, but allows for another trade or two to even out roster while playing for 7-8 seed in the West and having extra picks to fall back on for future building.

        To me, the key to a deal like that is strictly letting Pups unload Martin with KL. Who would provide excellent scoring as 6th man in scoring deficient Chicago.

      • blackandbluedivision - Jul 5, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        Yea, well if he doesn’t sign long term. You just created more holes on your team to fill for defense and left yourself in a hole for the next two years for draft picks. If he doesn’t sign long-term. You’re essentially paying more for those three players…all in one player…still with holes to fill on the roster…AND you’re still in the hole for the next two years for draft picks.

  3. saint1997 - Jul 4, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Excited to see him play, so much hype id love to see how good he really is! I can see him and McDermott meshing really well in that second unit

  4. fnc111 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    For the final time………….. Melo isn’t coming to Chicago!!!!!!!!! No big time FA is going to the Bulls. They are getting played again. The players don’t forget how awful the winters are there.

    • purple4life2 - Jul 4, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Yeah? How was the East Coast winter this year? Not too appealing. Of course they are all soft, whiny and self-absorbed out there too. Crying over every storm.

      You can’t handle the Midwest weather. It builds character. Then rewards you with amazing summers and falls.

      Enjoy your $4000/month rent in a cozy 600 sq. ft. apartment!

  5. irvfin3 - Jul 4, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Bye bye Boozer

  6. blackandbluedivision - Jul 4, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    I am excited to see what the Bulls look like this year. Exciting year in Chicago sports (if you exclude baseball).

    • chitownlolo - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      Add Stevenson and WE could win the east the next 4 years!

    • qualo221 - Jul 5, 2014 at 8:10 AM

      I never include baseball as a sport. Wish they would stop showing it on TV.

  7. csbanter - Jul 4, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Why haven’t we heard from Knick players who are signed for next year talking about Melo ? I guess MSG policy of don’t speak without permission still applies.

  8. andreboy1 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Is this guy a perimeter big or a banger?

    • purple4life2 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Stretch 4.

    • chitownlolo - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Perimeter. And I hope we don’t mess this up. In two years he will BE Kevin Love. Why give up him AND 4 other players for Love? Patience HAS to be our strongest asset! That’s how San Antonio built a dynasty. With YOUNG guys that are developed, NOT old guys that are about to decline and give you 2 years of brilliance.

  9. johnpierrebeatz - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    well, if u factor in the fact that he has twice won the Euroleague Rising Stars Award, which is the Equivalent to the NBA MVP award, plus these highlights, I would say he is exactly what we need here in chicago and melo would not even be necessary at that point.. Boozer being amnestied is a foregone conclusion at this point, and if you replace him with Taj, jimmy butler at the 2-guard, derrick running the PG, mirotic at the 3, and noah at the 5? not to mention guys like mcdermott, snell, augustin, and dunleavy coming off the bench? the bulls have the makings of a killer squad!

    • chitownlolo - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      I TOTALLY agree. I say go after Stevenson also. That would give us more guard and perimeter depth and versatility. Randolph came over in the McDermott trade and HE is a baller also, if we can get him some minutes. Bairstow is THE PERFECT back up for Taj. DEEP DEEP DEEP!

  10. jdish84 - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I’ll be the first one to say I fell into the media trap of we have to get Melo or love, but after coming to my senses I have realized we Don’t need either to win a title drose is a monster when he is healthy. People have written Derrick off, yes I do realize he is coming off he 2nd knee surgery but he is still only 26. Bring over mitrotic now will give us a solid stretch 4 who should avg 14 – 18 points a game, he defence is weak but this is Tibbs strength to get the most out of nothing when it comes to Def. Plus we have McDermott to help out rose with scoring. Bring over Paul to back up Noah or sign Lance weaken the pacers and give Derrick another option he’s a young 2 that can slash to the rim and he hustles every play let Tibbs who on he’s character and let Jimmy slide back to the 3 not to mention Lance already play Def. As we all know boozer is gone and we won’t break up are team doing all of this. Or lose any picks and still have room to sign dj because Dunleavy will be trade able. Rose Stephens butler Taj Noah starting backed by dj snell McDermott and mitrotic and are rookie from NM.

  11. 00maltliquor - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Prepare to be disappointed.

  12. ditkabears - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I still think the Bulls and Knicks are the only choices Melo has at this point. Knicks have the advantage only because of money. Basketball wise though the Bulls have the clear advantage. Pretty much comes down to if you want to win some games and possibly a Ring…..come to Chicago. If your more worried bout having money then stay in New York and lose some more games. There is no guarantee if Melo comes to Chicago we will win a championship….Rose healthy or not. But it surly doubles their chances though.

  13. chitownlolo - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Bring him over and sign Stevenson. We will have the deepest and most talented squad in the east. NBA finals for SURE!

  14. pooskay - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    he’s going to be a hit or miss….either Dirk or Darko

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