Bulls Could Time Nikola Mirotic Trade With Zach LaVine's Return

Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic

Despite the team's recent surge up the standings, Nikola Mirotić still wants the Chicago Bulls to ship him elsewhere once he becomes trade-eligible on January 15, and he may have already singled out a potential landing spot.

The Pistons have been "one of the most aggressive teams on the early (trade) market", Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday, and they've recently turned their attention to Bulls' sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic.

Ever since the start of the 2017-2018 season, it's felt like only a matter of time before the Bulls made a move.

Normally, players who sign new contracts in the offseason are eligible to be traded on December 15, but Mirotic was part of a small group of players who not only signed a new deal, but also received at least a 20 percent raisefrom a team that was over the salary cap and used Bird rights or Early Bird rights to sign them. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Mirotic being moved by the February 8 deadline has become "increasingly likely", with the potential deal predicated around the level of draft compensation Chicago would receive in return.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Chicago plans to trade Mirotic, though his contract stipulates that he can't be dealt before January 15 or without his permission. The incident left Mirotic hospitalized with a concussion and facial fractures, causing him to miss the first 23 games of the campaign.

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The Bulls started 3-20 while Mirotic recovered, but upon his return on December 8, Chicago proceeded to win seven in a row.

The Bulls are 6.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He's averaging a career-high 17.4 points this season, and with the Bulls clearly in a rebuilding phase, it's very likely the 26-year-old is dealt prior to the February 8 trade deadline. He's also averages seven rebounds per game and is shooting 46.5 percent on 5.9 3-point attempts per game.

If it means giving up a first round pick and/or any other promising assets, do you think the Portland Trail Blazers should trade for Nikola Mirotic?

A trade between the two teams would make sense.

The report indicates that the Bulls are wanting a first round pick as compensation.

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