Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Utah, Detroit teams most interested in Chicago's Nikola Mirotic

Melba Vasquez | 12 January, 2018, 19:35

Mirotic is reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause, which would allow the Bulls to move him when he becomes eligible to be traded on January 15.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Chicago plans to trade Mirotic, though his contract stipulates that he can't be dealt before January 15 or without his permission. If he really thinks playing in Utah for Quin Snyder is his best option, which Adrian Wojnarowski vaguely alluded to, then Mirotic could try to push the issue and demand that Chicago move him to the Jazz.

Reports are now indicating that the Bulls are seeking a first-round compensation in the eventual return package.

Mirotic (illness) will make the trip to NY with the team but is considered questionable for Wednesday's game against the Knicks, Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald reports. He's averaging a career-high 17.4 points this season, and with the Bulls clearly in a rebuilding phase, it's very likely the 26-year-old is dealt prior to the February 8 trade deadline.

The Bulls started 3-20 while Mirotic recovered, but upon his return on December 8, Chicago proceeded to win seven in a row. His desire to play elsewhere stems of course from the preseason incident with Bobby Portis, which left him in the hospital with a concussion and facial fractures and caused him to miss the first 23 games of the season.

So while the Mirotic to Utah idea shouldn't be considered a closed door, there's certainly some obstacles that have arisen. A pick in the early 20's is not ideal for Chicago, however it is another first rounder for the Bulls to work with come draft time. They're 21-18 and in seventh place in the East approaching the midway point of the season, but 7-12 since a strong start. Acquiring Mirotic would go a long way in potentially securing a playoff berth for Detroit.

Mirotic's season debut on December 8 marked the start of a seven-game winning streak for Chicago, and the team has gone 11-6 with him in the lineup. However, Derrick Favors' contract expires at the end of the season, leaving a huge hole at power forward.

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