The Chicago Bulls have thrived since Nikola Mirotic returned to the floor, but the power forward could be on his way out before the trade deadline.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Mirotic and his representatives are “standing firm” on a trade request.
The initial demand for a trade stems from the altercation between Mirotic and Bobby Portis shortly before the season began. Mirotic missed the first 23 games of the campaign while recovering from a broken jaw.
Since returning, the 26-year-old has amassed career-high numbers of 18.4 points and 7.1 rebounds while hitting a terrific 46.3 percent of his three-point attempts. There will be plenty of suitors lining up for Mirotic when he’s officially available.
Due to CBA rules, Mirotic cannot be traded until Jan. 15 because he inked a new contract last offseason. Granted, that recently signed deal also creates both flexibility and a potential problem.
Mirotic currently holds veto power on any potential trade, which he’s previously said he’s willing to waive. However, the Bulls hold a team option for the 2018-19 season and by exercising the extra year would remove Mirotic’s ability to block a trade.
Otherwise, Mirotic would have the ability to ensure he’s headed to a preferred location. And if a playoff-bound club like the San Antonio Spurs or Toronto Raptors came calling, Mirotic surely would be tempted to accept.