The Chicago Bulls appear to be in the final stages of a deal which would see highly rated Nikola Mirotic arrive from Europe this NBA offseason. Any deal for the former Real Madrid big man however could have a big impact on the Bulls' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony.
Mirotic was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the 2011 draft but, by the end of the night, had ended up at the Bulls via the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 6' 10" Spaniard has since been allowed to continue his development in Euro Basket with Real Madrid.
But after spending three years playing in Spain since, during which he was named runner up in the 2012-13 EuroLeague rising star vote, Mirotic this week bought out his contract with Real Madrid at a cost of over $3 million meaning that he is free to seek a deal in the NBA.
And now it looks like the Bulls are close to bringing him into the franchise this summer according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst who reports a deal is nearing completion.
While the arrival of the 23-year-old will provide a big man option for the Bulls that will be welcome for fans at the United Center, some have highlighted the impact this move could have on Chicago's well publicised pursuit of established NBA stars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love.
In order to bring in Melo, Chicago are in vital need of reducing their assets somewhat to find room for an appealing contract and it was expected that Mirotic would be one of those sacrificed.
The situation is even more revealing when you consider the franchise's rumored interest in Kevin Love. With the Timberwolves star still under contract for at least one more season teams looking to add the All-Star to their roster will be required to offer up an enticing deal to Minnesota.
Obviously should the Chicago Bulls bring in Mirotic now that takes away one option to put on the table later.
Why not trade Mirotic?
Some have suggested that the Bulls should trade away Mirotic once he has signed in order to facilitate the above deals, however, as pointed out by Mark Deeks of SB Nation, NBA rules ensure that the Spaniard would not be able to move on for 30 days after singing.
With the interest in both Melo and Love involving a host of NBA teams it is likely that come the end of those 30 days both players will have already sorted out their future.
It remains to be seen whether the Bulls' front office have arrived at the decision that Mirotic will be their major addition this offseason, but having held productive talks with Anthony this past week it is certainly an intriguing development coming out of Chicago.
Mirotic averaged 12.4 points in the Euro League in 2013-14 as well as 4.6 rebounds.