Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Utah Jazz targeting Nikola Mirotic?

Utah Jazz targeting Nikola Mirotic?

The Detroit Pistons are reportedly interested in trading for Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic.

Ever since the start of the 2017-2018 season, it's felt like only a matter of time before the Bulls made a move.

If you're going to bet on one guy to get traded before the February 8 deadline, it should be Mirotic.

Per Marc Stein, Detroit has joined the Utah Jazz in "expressing trade interest" for Mirotic. Because he signed a two-year contract in the summer before training camp, he can't be traded until January 15.

Van Gundy said the Pistons are under the salary cap enough where it wouldn't handicap any of their trade talks, but they're not looking to do a complete roster tear-down to fix their issues now.

Utah (16-24) sits 10th in the Western Conference, but is only 4 1/2 games behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Bulls have a net rating of plus-3.4 when Mirotic plays as opposed to minus-9.9 when he sits, though Chicago's success with Mirotic could be a product of the (ironically) successful frontcourt pairing of Mirotic and Portis (Mirotic's net rating drops from plus-13.5 with Portis to minus-9.2 without him).

That's exactly the type of production Minnesota could use to spark a bench that ranks 27th in the National Basketball Association in points per game.

The question is, where will Mirotic get moved? The Bulls got off to a awful start, and they remain near the bottom of the Eastern Conference Standings with a 14-27 record halfway through the year. He is now leading the team by posting a career-high 17.4 points with 48.6 percent shooting from the field and 46.5 percent from beyond the arc with 7.0 rebounds per contest. And there are a number of reasons moving Mirotic makes sense.

Mirotic signed a two-year contract in September worth a reported $25 million.

In 17 games, Mirotic has averaged 17.4 points and seven rebounds per game.

Nikola Mirotic #44 of the Chicago Bulls moves against Lance Stephenson #1 of the Indiana Pacers at the United Center on December 29, 2017 in Chicago.

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