NBA Trade Grades: Nikola Mirotic lands with the New Orleans Pelicans

Nikola Mirotic

Nikola Mirotic

The Pelicans agreed to guarantee the final year of Mirotic's contract, worth $12.5 million in the 2018-19 season, in exchange for sending Omer Asik, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson and a future first-round pick to the Bulls. Wojnarowski also notes that the Bulls will likely waive Allen and Nelson. That gives Chicago another opportunity to add important pieces to their rebuilding process with their own first-round pick (a lottery selection) and New Orleans' pick.

Now, the trade is happening, according to multiple reports. Since Mirotic came back, he has posted career highs in points per game (16.8), rebounds (6.4), assists (1.6), true shooting percentage (.624), PER (22.2), and win shares per 48 minutes (.165).

Despite that bump in the road, but Bulls were clearly going to be aggressive about shopping Mirotic before the February 8 trade deadline.

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.

But the Bulls are believed to have requested a first-round draft pick in any deal for Mirotic and will not be prepared to listen to offers without one.

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Whatever the case, the fact of the matter is that the hottest trade rumor relating to the Utah Jazz has been officially snuffed out. Whatever ends up being the case there, it's a near certainty that New Orleans will soon have a versatile and unsafe frontcourt regardless of who starts and who comes off the bench as they look to make some noise in the Western Conference playoff race.

To make room on their roster, the Bulls will reportedly release Quincy Pondexter, according to Wojnarowski's report. The center is due $10.5 million for the remainder of this season, as well as $11.2 million for the 2018-2019 season, followed by $3 million of guaranteed money for 2019-2020.

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

"The draft asset we acquired in this deal was far and away the best thing we had (going in talks)", Paxson said. "This type of deal allows us to put Paul and Cris out on the floor more than they've been all season long".

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