The Chicago Bulls may have found a suitor for a player in need of a new home. According to the NBA trade rumors swirling, the Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers might be closing in on making a deal. The Bulls’ player who could be headed to the Clippers is somewhat of a surprise.
Before anyone gets ahead of themselves by believing that the Chicago Bulls are moving Jimmy Butler to the Los Angeles Clippers, it is not happening. Not even the long-rumored negotiations between the Bulls and Boston Celtics are taking place. Barring a last minute cannot miss offer from the Celtics or another team, Jimmy Butler is staying with the Bulls. The same cannot be for other Bulls’ players.
Add Nikola Mirotic to the names of NBA players who could be with a new team by the end of the NBA trade deadline. At least the Chicago Bulls want to find the power forward a new home.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Bulls are aggressively looking to trade Nikola Mirotic. There is a strong sense that the Chicago Bulls will deal Mirotic before the trade deadline. Of the teams which K.C. Johnson says have an interest, the Los Angeles Clippers are a possible destination.
Trading for Nikola Mirotic makes sense for the Los Angeles Clippers. The have a need for some production at small forward. Mirotic, though not a natural small forward, can offer some scoring and rebounding at the position.
The Clippers have received minimal contributions from Wesley Johnson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute during the season. At this point, getting Nikola Mirotic from the Chicago Bulls would be an upgrade by comparison.
Despite his shortcomings on defense and his indifferences on offense, Mirotic can play when he is engaged. For the Bulls, Mirotic is averaging nine points and 5.1 rebounds per contest. Conversely, Mbah a Moute is providing 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds, with Johnson adding 3.2 in both categories.
That is not enough production if the Clippers want to keep up with the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs. Not to say that Nikola Mirotic would make a huge difference in the Clippers attempt at title contention, but he could be reinvigorated with a change of scenery.
The Chicago Bulls must come to terms that trading Nikola Mirotic may not bring back much in return. Perhaps a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers could net the Bulls a second round draft pick. It may be a small possibility that the Bulls would ask for rookie Brice Johnson in return if the two teams engage in trade talks.
Johnson has not played one minute in the NBA after suffering a herniated disk (courtesy of NBA) in his back during a preseason game. If there is a chance of getting Brice Johnson back from the Clippers in a trade for Nikola Mirotic, the Bulls could receive a solid return.
Addition by subtraction is what the Bulls would also get by moving Mirotic.
The Chicago Bulls will be a better team without Mirotic in the locker room. And it has little to do with Mirotic the player, but more to do with his fit with the team. Nikola Mirotic still has the tools to be a solid NBA contributor. His confidence has been lost with the Bulls and change is needed for change sake.
As for ideal fits for the Chicago Bulls’ forward, the Los Angeles Clippers would be a good place for Nikola Mirotic to play. It also would not be surprising if the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers come calling as well. The Chicago Bulls’ asking price cannot be ridiculously high because Mirotic is a restricted free agent after the season. Therefore, a team trading for Mirotic could strike on a low-risk, high-reward scenario.
Look for the Chicago Bulls to find Nikola Mirotic a comfortable landing spot.
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