NBA Trade Grades: Pelicans to acquire Nikola Mirotic from Bulls

Posted February 03, 2018

Exiled New York Knicks center Joakim Noah won't be required to return to the team before the passing of the February 8 National Basketball Association trade deadline, league sources told ESPN.

The Pelicans would send Omer Asik, and their 2018 first-round pick as part of the deal.

Our models project Mirotic to average 17 points, 7.1 rebounds and 0.9 threes over 31.2 minutes and 26 games the rest of the year. He will likely be waived and become a free agent. He's making 42.9 percent of his 3-point attempts and knocking down 2.8 per game.

Nikola Mirotic is on the move after all.

The Pelicans are hoping to shore up their offense in the wake of center DeMarcus Cousins' season-ending injury. 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.

The Pelicans are apparently now ready to pick up Mirotic's $12.5 million contract option for next season. Asik has two years remaining on his contract, and the final season in 2019-20 has an early termination option.

Indeed, the trade quadruples down on the Bulls' rebuild undertaken with last June's trade of Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves. Not only are they giving up a valuable player in Mirotic, they're also taking back a bad contract with Asik.

A deal as good as the one the Bulls originally cut with the Pelicans still might happen. He returns to the Bulls after spending his first two National Basketball Association seasons in Chicago from 2010-12.

With just over a week remaining before the trade deadline closes, time is quickly ticking on a potential deal for the Montenegro-born man.

As for Nelson, a veteran point guard who is capable of creating shots and hitting 3s, there should be plenty of demand for his services if the Bulls end up letting him go in the near future.

The meaning for Mirotic is clear. Still, New Orleans is in a bind and this is potentially the best-case scenario for salvaging their season.

"I don't know if surprise is the way to look at it", Paxson said. But the ripple effects - who picks up the waived players, how this affects the Monroe pursuit and the NBA Draft implications - are all yet to be determined.