REPORT: Raptors wanted Nikola Mirotic from Pelicans in 3-way trade with Magic, pivoted to Marc Gasol
Before acquiring All-Star center Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Toronto Raptors were trying to acquire stretch forward Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-way trade involving the Orlando Magic, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports.
A deal never transpired which worked for all three teams, so the Raptors traded for Gasol and the Pelicans sent Mirotic to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Post-NBA trade deadline chatter: Was told the Raptors wanted Nikola Mirotic from Pelicans in a three-way trade with Magic, who wanted Delon Wright. Instead, Pelicans dealt Mirotic to Bucks, and Raptors pivoted to Marc Gasol. If Mirotic deal had happened, Gasol deal wouldn't have.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) February 15, 2019
Nikola Mirotic hasn’t played with the Bucks yet, as he’s still recovering from a right calf strain. The 28-year-old hasn’t played in an NBA game since Jan. 23. He’s averaging 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game this season while shooting 44.7 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 84.2 percent from the free-throw line.
Marc Gasol has appeared in three games with the Raptors. The three-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year is putting up 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds with Toronto and shooting 52.2 percent from the floor.
Mirotic and Gasol fit in really well with their new teams. Niko will stretch the floor for the Bucks and bring his defender out to the perimeter which will create more driving lanes for superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Gasol, meanwhile, gives the Raptors a player who can score with ease from the post, something Toronto will need once the postseason starts since the game slows down in the playoffs.