The Chicago Bulls traded forward Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday. New Orleans completed the deal when they guaranteed the team option of $12.5 million on Mirotic’s contract for next season that gave the Bulls the ability to trade Mirotic without his permission, said league sources.
In exchange for Mirotic, the Pelicans sent the Bulls a protected 2018 first-round draft pick, Omer Asik, Jameer Nelson, and Tony Allen.
New Orleans needed to attach one pick in the first round to unload Asik’s salary. The center is due $10.5 million for the remainder of this season, as well as $11.2 million for the 2018-2019 season, followed by $3 million of guaranteed money for 2019-2020.
The Pelicans first round pick that was sent to Chicago is a protected selection in the top-5 for 2018, a top-8 in 2019 while unprotected for 2020 said league sources.
New Orleans created a spot on the roster to sign Greg Monroe. The team has been courting him after he had his contract bought out with the Phoenix Suns.
John Paxson the executive vice president of the Bulls said he is pleased with whom Chicago received for Mirotic and confident the deal was the best that has presented itself.
Paxson said that those representing Mirotic were consistent during the last few months that they wanted the player moved, and never backed down from that stance the entire time.
Paxson added that he believes from everything the player’s representatives had said during the last few months, he wanted out of Chicago and the trade satisfies those wishes.
Chicago will keep Nelson, but waive Allen, said league sources.
The Bulls are also sending a pick in the second round in 2018 acquired from New Orleans in the Quincy Pondexter trade, and will hold the right make a swap of picks in the second round with the Pelicans during the 2021 draft.
Chicago waived Pondexter in order to open up a roster spot to complete Thursday’s deal.
Mirotic signed a deal for two-years with Chicago this past August. Mirotic has played very well with Chicago since returning after missing 23 games to start the season averaging 16.7 points as well as 6.3 rebounds per game. He missed the 23 games following a scuffle with Bobby Portis in practice that left him with a concussion and facial fractures.