Despite the team's recent surge up the standings, Nikola Mirotić still wants the Chicago Bulls to ship him elsewhere once he becomes trade-eligible on January 15, and he may have already singled out a potential landing spot.
Then on Tuesday, Portland was among three teams mentioned that could pursue Chicago Bulls' sharp-shooting power forward Nikola Mirotic before the trade deadline.
Those reports come a day after Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com wrote that the Bulls are "still planning to trade forward Nikola Mirotic, which can't happen until January 15 or without his permission, based on his contract". He asked to be traded earlier this season after he was punched by teammate Bobby Portis, an incident that left him in the hospital with a fractured face and a concussion.
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ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Chicago plans to trade Mirotic, though his contract stipulates that he can't be dealt before January 15 or without his permission.
Van Gundy said the Pistons are under the salary cap enough where it wouldn't handicap any of their trade talks, but they're not looking to do a complete roster tear-down to fix their issues now.
Utah is 4.5 games out of the playoffs as the Western Conference's No.10 seed, while Portland is the No.6 seed at three games above.500.
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Chicago traded Jimmy Butler and bought out Dwyane Wade's contract in the summer, making Mirotic their No.1 option on offense. And besides, Mirotic still wants out of Chicago so he's likely to go somewhere. The Bulls got off to a terrible start, and they remain near the bottom of the Eastern Conference Standings with a 14-27 record halfway through the year. Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris are having massive seasons for the Pistons up front, but Mirotic's 3-point shooting ability from the wing would bolster an already steady attack. There's a team option, also for $12.5 million, for 2018-19.
It's no surprise Mirotic is on the trade block for the Bulls.
Nikola Mirotic #44 of the Chicago Bulls moves against Lance Stephenson #1 of the Indiana Pacers at the United Center on December 29, 2017 in Chicago.
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