With the annual trading deadline now eight weeks away, the Chicago Bulls have explored the trade value of veteran players Robin Lopez and Nikola Mirotic, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
According to one Eastern Conference executive and one Western Conference executive, the Bulls have made preliminary inquiries on Mirotic’s value, along with Robin Lopez’s. The Bulls, who are under the salary-cap floor, are seeking to add future assets in terms of draft picks without taking on long-term contracts.
For Chicago, a team focused on building for the future, the team must decide whether keeping veteran players such as Lopez and Mirotic makes sense — both financially and fundamentally. The team has several young assets who could see more playing time if the two were to be traded, including Lauri Markannen, Bobby Portis, and whichever players would be acquired upon moving the pair.
Nikola Mirotic has had a tumultuous season so far, engaging in a physical incident during practice with teammate Bobby Portis and missing several weeks as a result. He made his return earlier this week, but holds a no-trade clause in his contact. Portis largely controls whether or not he can be moved, as well as where he can be moved if the sides choose to venture down that option.
Lopez, the team’s starting center, has averaged a career-high 13.2 points per game in 26 contests this season. Both him and Mirotic are set to make roughly $13 million this season.
The Bulls are unable to trade Mirotic until Friday due to league rules, when over 100 players across the league become eligible to be moved.
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