Nikola Mirotic has missed the Chicago Bulls last two games as he recovers from a stomach bug. Getting on the mend remains a priority for Mirotic, as does finding a way out of Chicago, too.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley, Mirotic and his representatives remain steadfast in their desire to seek a trade from the Bulls. That desire has seemingly been on the table for Mirotic since shortly after his post-practice scuffle with teammate Bobby Portis in late October that left Mirotic sidelined for more than a month with facial injuries.
While Mirotic may be seeking a trade from the Bulls, an impasse may be afoot in making one happen, Cowley writes:
A source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that Mirotic remains hopeful that he’ll be traded soon, and he has even told Bulls management where he’d like to play through his representatives.
Mirotic has a no-trade clause, but that would be voided if the Bulls pick up the team option for next season.
The source said both sides have remained professional throughout the process, but they feel they’ve reached an impasse when it comes to repairing the damage caused in the Oct. 17 practice altercation in which Mirotic was punched in the face by Bobby Portis.
The Jazz, Pistons, Knicks and Trail Blazers reportedly have inquired about an asking price for Mirotic. The Bulls are holding firm on their demand for a first-round pick.
“The conversations Niko and I have had are just about basketball and continuing to play well,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said of the trade talk. “You look at our record since he’s been back in the lineup — we’re [11-6] with Niko out there on the floor — and we’ve played some really good basketball. A lot of that is because of Niko’s confidence and approach, and we just want him to continue to be that way and be a positive influence on this team.’’
The Bulls are 11-6 this season with Mirotic in the lineup, and he is averaging a career bests in scoring (17.4 points per game), rebounding (7.0 rpg), assists (1.5 apg) while shooting 48.6 percent overall and 46.5 percent on 3-pointers.