Trade buzz surrounding the New Orleans Pelicans has been dominated by Anthony Davis leading up to the Feb. 7 deadline.
However, with the Pels headed toward the draft lottery and some degree of an eventual franchise rebuild, many of their role players have been made available for any team looking to claim them.
That includes Julius Randle, E’Twaun Moore, and, of course, Nikola Mirotic.
Maybe the most interesting, as he is a contemporary type player on an expiring deal, Mirotic has summoned interest form multiple teams around the league so far.
Nikola Mirotic is a perfect example of a modern stretch-four. He is a volume 3-point shooter who is shooting 36.8 percent on the season, including 38.1 percent on his corner 3’s, and can rebound the ball effectively, yet is still athletic enough to operate to some extent in switches and provide some on-ball defense.
For many teams with big aspirations heading into the playoffs, he is exactly the type of player they will be looking to add.
New Orleans’ price tag of a first rounder isn’t too hefty of a request, leaving these three teams in excellent position to strike a deal with the Pels for Mirotic.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have found incredible success this season behind an MVP-caliber campaign from their star, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
They refuse to get comfortable at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, however, and are expected to seek out trades that could improve the team.
They have been rumored to have their eye on Nikola Mirotic, and it makes sense. Much of their success has been in surrounding Antetokounmpo with outside shooting and letting him unstoppably work his way to the hoop. A frontcourt pairing of Mirotic and Brook Lopez would provide about as much help from the arc as you could expect to get from two big men.
The trick would be seeing what the Bucks are willing to give up in order to make a deal work, as they are strapped for first-round picks until 2023.
2. Houston Rockets
Nikola Mirotic’s game just screams Morey-ball and the Houston front office knows it.
The Rockets reportedly have interest in bringing the wing aboard, and he would fill a pretty glaring gap in their rotation.
Midseason additions like Austin Rivers and Kenneth Faried have helped eliminate some depth concerns but behind PJ Tucker at the power forward spot, the Rockets don’t have much besides the rookie Gary Clark.
Niko would bring his signature shooting to a team that would let him keep on keepin’ on with his high attempts beyond the arc. Any scoring help they could provide James Harden with would be monumental, as they seek to preserve as much of him as they can for the postseason that will be here before long.
With over half of his shot attempts coming from deep and over 75 percent of his points happening either from the perimeter or in the paint, this could be a match made in heaven.
1. Utah Jazz
The Jazz have managed to turn their season around as of late and are looking ready to go on a hot streak as the playoffs near.
They have been incredibly active in trade talks leading up to the deadline, seeking to add as much help to their roster as they can. Names like Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry have been linked to the team, but there have also been rumors connecting them to the Pelicans forward.
Mirotic would be a great addition for Utah, who would welcome any extra shooting they can get their hands on.
Despite being an elite defensive team, they don’t have many players who can drill an outside shot with consistency. Mirotic would give them a chance to stagger Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favor’s minutes a little, as he played alongside the two of them, spacing out the floor.
Utah has all the means necessary to acquire him, but much of their ability and desire to move forward with a trade between them and New Orleans will likely depend upon the outcome of other deals around the league.