Bulls in a hard spot as Nikola Mirotic’s trade value trending down
Thanks to a shining 2015-16 season, Chicago Bulls wing Nikola Mirotic was expected to come out as the team’s starting power forward come opening night, but as luck would have it, he now finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
The third-year big man bomber has struggled to shoot the ball — his biggest asset as a stretch four — and lost his spot to a veteran rebounder and energy guy in Taj Gibson.
Coming off the bench hasn’t really helped the Yugoslavian international, as he’s only played 30 minutes or more in a game twice this season. An already flimsy shooter with a 41 percent field goal percentage for his career, Mirotic is shooting even worse this season at 38 percent.
Mirotic has only scored in double figures in nine of 24 games played, making him a very unreliable option off the bench for head coach Fred Hoiberg.
According to an Eastern Conference executive, his value is trending down rapidly and is likely to not have any weight if the Bulls opt to trade him between now and the February deadline because of his expiring contract, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Due to the ever-growing contract sizes under the new tentative CBA, Mirotic is unlikely to be anything but a reclamation project for any teams fishing for a stretch four, unless he can pick up his shooting touch and shoot his way back to consistent minutes.
The 6-foot-10 forward received a DNP (coach’s decision) in the first part of a home-and-home matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, then missed a team walkthrough on Friday morning, was fined, and missed another game consequently.