Mirotic has requested a trade from the Bulls, but he can’t be dealt until Jan. 15
Judging from recent reports, it certainly seems that Nikola Mirotic is going to get his wish and be traded away from the Chicago Bulls.
ESPN reported earlier this week that the Bulls are looking to trade the forward, and now the Salt Lake Tribune is indicating that trade talks between the Bulls and the Utah Jazz are “getting serious.” According to Tony Jones, the Jazz have made Derrick Favors available in the discussions, though the Bulls have also inquired about a first-round pick. Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
The Salt Lake Tribune has confirmed that Utah is engaged in talks with the Chicago Bulls on a deal that would bring power forward Nikola Mirotic to Utah. Jazz forward Derrick Favors has been discussed as a potential piece that would go to Chicago, according to multiple sources.
Other reports Tuesday suggest the Bulls want a first round pick as compensation for Mirotic, something they have inquired the Jazz about.
Nothing is done on either side, but talks are past the preliminary stage and getting serious. ESPN.com first reported Utah’s interest in Mirotic on Monday.
Mirotic is reportedly intrigued by Jazz coach Quin Snyder, and it’s likely he would waive the no-trade clause he has in order to facilitate a deal to Utah if the two sides agree upon one. The two forwards make roughly the same amount of money, so this could potentially work as just a straight swap.
While Favors has been a good player for the Jazz, he’s on an expiring deal, and just isn’t a great fit with Rudy Gobert. Thus it makes sense for the Jazz to try and get something for him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer — especially if they’re leaning toward not re-signing him anyway.
Mirotic, who missed the first 23 games of the season as a result of the incident with Bobby Portis just prior to opening night, has been stellar since returning to the lineup. He’s averaging 17.4 points and seven rebounds per game, while shooting 46.5 percent on 3s, which would by far be the best mark of his career if he keeps it up.
Gobert is injured right now but when he comes back, Mirotic may be a nice fit next to him in the frontcourt. He would certainly provide better spacing than Favors does when playing alongside the big Frenchman.
As for the Bulls, acquiring Favors doesn’t really do anything for them this season, and in fact, should this deal go down, they might look to repackage him. There’s really no reason for Favors to take minutes from some of the Bulls’ young big men, and a half-season rental on Favors may be intriguing to a team looking for an improved inside presence for the postseason.