We've got breaking news in Chicago: the Bulls have traded Nikola Mirotic. After complications arose just days ago, it seems as though Nikola Mirotic will officially be joining the New Orleans Pelicans very soon. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, "New Orleans is planning to guarantee the $12.5 M salary of Mirotic in 2018-2019 season."
If you recall, part of the reason the original trade between the two teams fell through was because Mirotic's salary for next year was not guaranteed. Now that the guarantee of salary has been made, the deal can officially go through. In return for Mirotic the Pelicans are sending Omer Asik, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson,as well as, a future first-round pick to the Bulls.
Getting a handful of veteran contracts off the books will allow the Pelicans to subsequently sign the recently bought-out Greg Monroe, who has been recently linked to the team. On the flip side of the deal, it does not sounds as though Chicago plans to keep the veteran pair of Allen and Nelson. Nikola Mirotic was almost considered a lock to be traded before or, at the Trade Deadline which, makes this deal less of a surprise.
After losing DeMarcus Cousins for the remainder of the season, adding Mirotic may not completely fill the void but, it is a good start. The 26year old had been playing some great basketball for Chicago prior to being traded.
But Nikola Mirotic might not be the Pelicans' only get this season. Rumor has it that free-gent big man Greg Monroe may be on his way to New Orleans after recently being bought out by the Phoenix Suns. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Pelicans are "gathering momentum in pursuit of Greg Monroe, including coach Alvin Gentry calling him to lay out [the] chance to be starting centre with Cousins' injury.
One thing has become clear over the past week and it is that the Pelicans are looking at a way to temporarily filing the void left by All-Star DeMarcus Cousins' injury that occurred last week. However, if the Pelicans do indeed sign Monroe, this likely means that the team will pull out of the race of Chicago Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic. Currently, Monroe is averaging 10.4 points as well as, 7,4 rebounds in 25 games split between Milwaukee and Phoenix.
A veteran center, Monroe is no stranger to logging big minutes in an impact role during the course of his career. And while the New Orleans sit seventh in the Western Conference as of this writing, that could change dramatically if they keep making moves as such as these.