The Bulls and Pelicans do not have a trade to send Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
NBC Sports Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill reported earlier Tuesday that Chicago would be sending Mirotic to the Pelicans in exchange for Omer Asik and a first-round pick.
The hang-up appears to be tied to Mirotic’s contract. Though he has a no-trade clause, that clause can be nullified if the Bulls pick up his $12.5 million team option for next season before a trade. Either a team can acquire Mirotic with his approval for one year or for two years without his blessing. Mirotic was unwilling to approve a trade to New Orleans without assurance that his option would be picked up, according to Wojnarowski.
It has been clear Mirotic was on his way out of Chicago ever since teammate Bobby Portis punch him in the face and left him hospitalized with facial fractures and a concussion. Mirotic reportedly told the Bulls either he or Portis had to be traded.
New Orleans is looking to fill the hole left in the frontcourt by the DeMarcus Cousins injury as they fight to remain in playoff position.
Mirotic has played 25 games since returning from injury and is averaging 16.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. The Bulls got off to a 3–20 start in his absence but are 15–12 since.