The Milwaukee Bucks are already the top team in the Eastern Conference. They may have just gotten better after a trade that sends New Orleans Pelicans sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic to Milwaukee.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe were the first to report the deal. Wojnarowski reports that the Bucks will send veteran center Jason Smith and Stanley Johnson to New Orleans to complete the deal. In addition, the trade will include the Pistons and will send multiple second-round picks to the Pelicans for Mirotic, Wojnarowski reports.
Marc Stein of The New York Times reports the Pelicans will net four second-round picks in the deal. SI's Jake Fischer reports the picks New Orleans will acquire from Milwaukee in the trade are the Washington Wizards' picks in 2020 and 2021.
THANK YOU NEW ORLEANS. My warmest thanks to Pelican's fans, to the organization, and all who supported me. It was fantastic experience to be a part of the semi-finals of the Conference. So excited to face new challenges !!! pic.twitter.com/uEvSgv9BRs— Nikola Mirotic (@threekola) February 8, 2019
On Wednesday, the Bucks dealt Thon Maker to the Detroit Pistons to acquire Johnson. That trade was never officially announced, though, and now Johnson will be on his way to New Orleans. The move also opens a roster spot for the Bucks, which they could use to add a player off the buyout market.
The Bucks are third in the NBA in 3-pointers made (707), rank second in 3-pointers attempted (2,398) and are tied for 12th in 3-point percentage (35.5). Mirotic should fit in nicely with Milwaukee, as he is on pace for another season with at least 100 3-pointers made (he's currently at 85) and is making 36.8 percent of his 3-pointers, too. Overall, Mirotic is averaging 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 28.9 minutes per game.
To date, the Bucks have only two players who have made more than 100 3-pointers this season -- center Brook Lopez and All-Star guard Khris Middleton. The addition of Mirotic will allow Milwaukee to further stretch defense and provide more room for All-Star and Kia MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo to work on the court.