Nikola Mirotic was offered a comeback tour with the Chicago Bulls, according to Barcelona head coach Svetislav Pesic. While Pesic mentioned several offers were on the table, he specifically told reporters Mirotic received one from Chicago worth around $45 million over three years.
HOWEVER, NBA sources have reached out to Chicago’s David Kaplan to reject the notion:
Confirmed that the Bulls did NOT make this offer to Mirotic. NBA sources tell me that Utah did make a major offer to Niko that he rejected. https://t.co/J2qACMTwzG
— David Kaplan (@thekapman) July 31, 2019
While that number may seem like quite a lot, that appeared to be the expected contract for Mirotic as he hit free agency. Remember, the New York Times Marc Stein (New York Times) tweeted that the Utah Jazz were reportedly willing to offer him a $45 million deal to secure his services – Mirotic ultimately accepted a deal reportedly worth $79 million over six years to play for Barcelona.
After crunching those numbers, I’d probably take that deal as well!
Personally, the supposed offer wasn’t very believable right off the bat, though some speculation is certainly warranted considering the team’s offseason front-court needs. But with the Bulls scooping up Thaddeus Young to open up free agency on June 30th and Mirotic spurning the NBA for a return to Barcelona only a day earlier, it’s tough to imagine the timeline working out. If the Bulls were invested in Mirotic, the team would have really needed to act fast in targeting Young. Normally, when a deal happens as quickly as this one did with Young, the Bulls knew who they were trying to get.
To be fair: Like Young, Mirotic proved himself to be a reliable, veteran big-man.
He averaged 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season while splitting time with the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks. Before that, Mirotic averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 243 games over three seasons with the Bulls.
It’s conceivable that Chicago could have had interest in a Mirotic reunion, even after things didn’t end all that well. Just to spark your memory, he was traded after his brief return from a practice scuffle with Bobby Portis that resulted in him suffering a concussion and breaking multiple bones in his face.
In the end, the team signed a reliable big man who was probably a better fit, while also saving some cash (based on Mirotic’s rumored deal). Everyone wins.