February 25, 2018

Main » Pelicans get Nikola Mirotic to fill in for injured DeMarcus Cousins

Pelicans get Nikola Mirotic to fill in for injured DeMarcus Cousins

03 February 2018

"New Orleans is sending Chicago a 2018 first-round pick with "minimal" protections, league source tells ESPN". With a Mirotic trade, the pre-emptive waiving of Tony Allen, the Asik contract and style of play since the start of the year, Gar Forman and John Paxson finally get it.

While some of the details are still being worked out, it looks as though the Bulls will get Jameer Nelson, Omer Asik, Tony Allen, and a 2018 first-round draft pick. Chicago will also send a second round pick to the Pelicans and the right to exchange seconds in the 2021 draft.

Such cost-controlled rookie contracts are invaluable to an organization with limited flexibility, and at some point the Pelicans are going to need to add young talent to the roster. Moreover, he's attempting (and making) the most three-pointers of his career, attempting 6.4 per game while hitting almost 43 percent of them. Though they slumped of late, the Bulls are still 14-11 with Mirotic and 4-22 without him.

Health has been a bigger issue for the Bulls (18-32), who visit Moda Center on Wednesday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers.

Mirotic returned to the court on December 8th and since has inspired a 15-12 run which has lifted the Bulls to 12th. And that's in terms of how I would value the picks; in practice, it's generally more expensive to trade up, so from the league's perspective Chicago probably got the equivalent of something like the 25th pick for Mirotic.

This trade is unlikely to help the Pelicans much in the long term, though.

Mirotic's contract situation caused problems for New Orleans, as the Pelicans weren't ready to commit to guaranteeing Mirotic's contract for next season. In case you were wondering, he will be bought out in 2019 for $3 million if he isn't dealt to a team looking to free up future cap space before then.

The team remains unsure of the status of Allen, Paxson said, though it's expected that he'll be waived.

The fact that he didn't end up in Utah is likely a result of one or more of a few possibilities.

"Our goal in this in order to move him was to get a draft asset that we thought was valuable to us, and we feel we've done that", Paxson said.

Pelicans get Nikola Mirotic to fill in for injured DeMarcus Cousins