Nikola Mirotic, Gar Forman

Report: Bulls promised not to trade Nikola Mirotic

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Nikola Mirotic paid a lot of money to join the Chicago Bulls this summer.

The reported buyout from his European team was more than $3 million, and the Bulls could contribute only $600,000 without it counting against the cap (though I’m not certain they did). That left a lot for Mirotic to cover.

And what has it gotten him?

His name mentioned in Kevin Love trade rumors.

Technically, Chicago can’t trade Mirotic until Aug. 17. As applies to Andrew Wiggins, draft picks can’t be traded for 30 days after signing.

However, the Bulls and Timberwolves can discuss a trade involving Mirotic now as long as they wait to officially complete it.

There’s just one hitch.

David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune:

Mirotic bought out his contract with Real Madrid of the Spanish League only after the Bulls committed to keeping him in Chicago, according to a source familiar with negotiations.

Sometimes, conditions of such agreements – “We won’t trade you unless…” – get lost  in the game of telephone from management to the player to the media, and there could be other people in the chain between those links. The miscommunication possibility is even more likely with someone like Mirotic, who admits his English is not good. (How is Gar Foreman’s Montenegrin?)

However, for the sake of this post, let’s assume the Bulls expressly promised Mirotic they’d keep him in Chicago.

Since signing Mirotic, they’ve added Pau Gasol, another big man who will eat up minutes. It seems possible the Bulls and Mirotic could have mutually agreed to lift the trade embargo, even if him remaining in Chicago remains the preferred option.

Of course, these concerns are purely ethical rather than technical. Mirotic doesn’t have a no-trade clause, and from Aug. 17 on, the Bulls can unilaterally trade him. That’s just a pitfall of playing in the NBA, which doesn’t allow no-trade clauses unless a player has spent eight years in the league and four with the team signing him.

But if the Bulls promised not to trade Mirotic for a period of time, they should honor that.

And if they can get Love, they should try their hardest to talk Mirotic into the beauty of Minnesota.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: