Milwaukee Bucks acquire Nikola Mirotic in three-team deal
Bucks send Thon Maker to Pistons and Jason Smith to Pelicans as part of trade
MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired forward Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-team deal. The Bucks will also send forward Thon Maker to the Detroit Pistons and center Jason Smith, along with four future second-round draft picks to the Pelicans. Detroit will send forward Stanley Johnson to New Orleans to complete the trade.
“We are thrilled to add such a talented player in Nikola Mirotic to our roster,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst. “He is a skilled, two-way player who fits extremely well into our system. He shoots at a high percentage from beyond the arc, rebounds and defends at his position and provides depth to our frontcourt.
“We thank Thon and Jason for their contributions to the Bucks and wish them well.”
Mirotic, 27, is averaging career-highs in both points (16.7) and rebounds (8.3) per game in 2018-19 while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three in 32 games (22 starts). He’s tallied 10 games with at least 20 points, including two games with 30 or more points, and 11 double-doubles this season while knocking down multiple 3-pointers in 23 of his 32 games played.
Originally selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Mirotic, 6-foot-10, holds career averages of 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest, appearing in 305 career games with both the Pelicans and Chicago Bulls. The Montenegro native has averaged at least 10.0 points per game in each of his five seasons and earned All-Rookie honors following his rookie season in 2014-15.
Maker, 7-foot-1, 221, averaged 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 35 games with the Bucks this season. Drafted 10th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Maker has appeared in 166 career NBA games (46 starts), and has averaged 4.5 points and 2.6 rebounds.
Born in South Sudan, Maker emigrated to Australia at age 6. He moved to the United States to play high school basketball in Louisiana and Virginia and was named Gatorade Virginia Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the 2013-14 season. He then moved to Canada where he played at Athlete Institute Academy in Mono, Ontario and was named the 2016 League MVP of the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association.
Maker, 21, was a member of the World Select Team which participated in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit and was also voted to the All American team at the 2014 NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp.
Johnson is in his fourth NBA season after being drafted eighth overall by the Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 267 career games, he’s averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals.
Smith was acquired by the Bucks from the Wizards in a three-team trade on Dec. 7, 2018. He appeared in six games with Milwaukee and averaged 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 6.7 minutes per contest. In his 10th season, Smith holds career averages of 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds over 614 games.
Milwaukee’s roster now stands at 16 players.