One day after rejecting a proposed trade to the New Orleans Pelicans, Nikola Mirotic participated in morning shootaround and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg indicated Mirotic would come off the bench in Wednesday's night game in Portland.
Hours later, the Bulls decided to shut down Mirotic until a mutually beneficial trade can be worked out ahead of the trade deadline, according to ESPN's Nick Friedell.
Hoiberg confirmed the front office's decision:
“I got a call today and the decision was made to not play Niko tonight. That’s all I know at this point. We will reassess tomorrow.” Coach Hoiberg— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 1, 2018
“We’re gonna go out there and compete at a high-level with the players we have available.” Coach Hoiberg— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 1, 2018
Mirotic has been pushing for a trade out of Chicago ever since teammate Bobby Portis broke two of his facial bones in a post-practice fight in October. The scuffle left Mirotic sidelined for more than a month. The Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks and Pelicans have, at times, been linked in trade talks with Mirotic.
This season, Mirotic is averaging career bests in scoring (16.8 points per game), rebounding (6.4 rpg) and 3-point percentage (42.9 percent). He has appeared in 25 games for the Bulls, starting three games and is averaging 24.9 minutes per game.