HoopsHype Nikola Mirotic rumors

February 13, 2014 Updates

One of John Paxson’s best early moves after being named Bulls general manager was signing Spanish league star Andres Nocioni in 2004. On Wednesday, he talked about the team’s next Spanish league target, 6-10 sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic. “Our intentions, as we talked about, is to try to get him sooner rather than later,” Paxson said. “There’s still a process that we have to go through. He still has a significant buyout with Real Madrid. But there’s a reason we went to such lengths to try to draft him a few years ago.” Arlington Heights Daily Herald

February 12, 2014 Updates
February 11, 2014 Updates

Hector Fernandez from Onda Cero Radio in Spain described Mirotic as his best friend. “Niko is a winner. He has born for competition. He wants to win in every aspect,” Fernandez said. “He is ready for the NBA adventure for sure. Since he was drafted, he’s been interested in Chicago. He knows everything about the team and also about the city and the number of Serbian people who live there.” Arlington Heights Daily Herald

A European stat line and some YouTube highlights provide only so much insight. For a better picture of Mirotic, we contacted a couple of Spanish journalists who cover him on a regular basis. Fernando Martin from SpanishHoops.com provided a rundown of Mirotic’s skills: “He is a fundamentally sound player. He may not be a highlight type of guy, a player that jumps or dunks every time, but he plays consistently throughout the whole game. He loves to run the court, great basketball IQ, good motor, nice touch near the basket. “Basically, he is good at everything, but in my opinion the skill that makes him so special is his shooting.” Arlington Heights Daily Herald

“Niko is a perfectionist,” Martin said. “Every summer he goes back to Montenegro to train like a hermit with his longtime coach, Jadran Vujacic. Runs up and down the hills, shot drills, everything. “Basketball is his No. 1 priority. He wants to be the best. He is unselfish on the court, but that doesn’t mean he is not ambitious or hungry. He is both. That’s a common mindset in Balkan players.” Arlington Heights Daily Herald

February 9, 2014 Updates
February 6, 2014 Updates

Nikola Mirotic: What I can tell, and I'm being very honest about this, is that in my soul, in my mind, I still don't know what is going to happen, but I would like very much to make a decision this summer, to know if I will play with the Spanish National Team and if I will go to the NBA. If I stay or if I go. It's January and there is a lot of time left. ABC.es

January 30, 2014 Updates

One executive said the Bulls' decision on whether to chase Melo will be based on how soon they think they can bring Euro sensation Nikola Mirotic to the States and how good they believe he'll be once he gets here. "Do they think Mirotic is worth a $5 million to $6 million contract, or do they go after Melo?'' one GM said. "Mirotic is an above-average NBA starter right now. But at the end of the day, I think they'll go after Melo.'' ESPN.com

January 29, 2014 Updates
January 28, 2014 Updates
January 10, 2014 Updates

Sam Smith: The Deng trade likely does not make the Bulls a major free agent player. If they were to sign Mirotic from overseas, they wouldn’t have that much left. Even if they don’t, they likely are not in contention for any top free agents. These are all estimates for now. But the cap is at about $58 million now and projected to be about $62 million for next season. The Bulls payroll now is about $49 million for next season. But they have to add in draft picks and they could get two. If they go for Mirotic this summer, I assume he costs $6 million to $8 million given he has a buyout to pay if he leaves this summer. So that may leave the Bulls about $5 million for a free agent. If he doesn’t come, then the Bulls have maybe $12 million. Still, it’s far below any maximum contract for a free agent. NBA.com

January 7, 2014 Updates
January 6, 2014 Updates

Though it's unlikely, perhaps a team will become desperate and increase its offer to meet the Bulls' asking price. Barring that, the Bulls still view Deng as an asset this summer. First, they will attempt to re-sign him via free agency, though they recognize that isn't a sure thing. Perhaps a sign-and-trade scenario will materialize. And if Deng walks for nothing, the resulting salary-cap space aids their main offseason objective — signing 2011 draft-day acquisition Nikola Mirotic. "(Management) fields calls all the time, and if a player is a good player you're going to get more calls about him," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That's all part of it. They're not actively seeking to move anybody, but they're always looking to see if we can improve our club. And if something makes sense, they'll consider it." Chicago Tribune

December 23, 2013 Updates
December 16, 2013 Updates

HoopsHype.com was the first to report over the weekend that Bulls officials arranged a Saturday sit-down with Real Madrid forward Nikola Mirotic. Sources close to the situation later told ESPN.com that the Bulls are indeed doing everything they can on the buyout front to be able to bring Mirotic to the NBA next season after taking him in the first round of the 2011 draft. Then on Monday, Chicago unexpectedly released veteran point guard Mike James, who made the Bulls' roster out of training camp to provide coach Tom Thibodeau with an experienced hand whenever needed for spot duty behind Rose. But with Rose sidelined again and Chicago's short- and long-term aspirations in flux as a result, management has abruptly decided to release the 38-year-old to ensure that unproven youngsters Marquis Teague and newly acquired D.J. Augustin get as many minutes as possible. ESPN.com

Yet it can already be said that the fondness within the organization for Mirotic is such that the versatile 6-10 forward, who's shooting well above 60 percent from the floor in Euroleague play, is regarded as a bigger part of the future by the Bulls' brain trust than either longtime Thibodeau favorite Deng or Boozer. ESPN.com

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