Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis have been impressive in the Chicago Bulls’ 108-85 victory over the Kyrie Irving-less Boston Celtics. Mirotic posted 24 points and eight rebounds while Portis led the second unit with 23 points, four rebounds, and one assist. Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said he wasn’t surprised with how Mirotic and Portis handle their ongoing feud to help the team perform better every night.
Despite having off-court issues, both forwards provided good chemistry inside the court, making most people believe that the Bulls no longer need to trade one of them. However, with Chicago’s goal to rebuild the team, they are reportedly planning to move some veterans for assets that could help them speed up the process.
According to K.C. Johnson of Chicago Tribune, the Bulls are starting to test the trade market for Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez. They are willing to trade Mirotic and Lopez for expiring contracts and future draft picks.
“According to one Eastern Conference executive and one Western Conference executive, the Bulls have made preliminary inquiries on Mirotic’s value, along with Robin Lopez’s. The Bulls, who are under the salary-cap floor, are seeking to add future assets in terms of draft picks without taking on long-term contracts.”
After parting ways with Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo in the last offseason, it’s crystal clear that the Bulls wanted to undergo a full-scale rebuild. As of now, they are mostly consisting of young players with the potential to become superstars in the league. Robin Lopez, 29, is currently the oldest player on their roster, together with Quincy Pondexter.
Trading Lopez will give young center like Cristiano Felicio more playing time which will greatly help in his development as an NBA player. Lopez will be a great addition to a team who needs frontcourt boost. In 26 games this season, he’s averaging 13.2 points and 5.5 rebounds on 52.8 percent shooting from the field.
However, with his lack of ability to space the floor, it remains questionable if teams will be interested in taking Lopez alone. Including Nikola Mirotic in any deal involving Lopez will solve the Bulls’ problem. So far, the Bulls made the right move to strengthen Mirotic’s value before making him available again on the trade market.
His previous performances will surely attract several NBA teams who are in dire need of stretch bigs. Trading Lopez and Mirotic will not only give the Bulls future assets but will also help them free salary cap space that they could use in 2018 free agency.