Nikola Mirotic

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Report: Bulls trading Jameer Nelson to Pistons for Willie Reed, pick swap

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Update: Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:

Looks like Reed won’t even make it to Chicago. This was always primarily about the pick swap for the Bulls.

 

Energized by Blake Griffin, the Pistons are back in the thick of the playoff race.

But with Reggie Jackson still sidelined, Detroit is relying on a hodgepodge at point guard: Ish Smith, Dwight Buycks and Langston Galloway. Though that group has performed decently, Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy is getting a familiar reinforcement – Jameer Nelson.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Nelson had his best years with the Van Gundy-coached Magic, but that was also nearly a decade ago. Nelson, who turns 36 tomorrow, has declined significantly. He probably won’t be in the rotation once Jackson returns. Heck, he might not be in the rotation even now. But he’s another option on a team that hasn’t found stability at point guard.

Is that worth a chance of dropping a bit in the second round in four years? Maybe. I doubt the present-focused Van Gundy blinked at the cost, especially considering he had no attachment to Willie Reed (who came to Detroit in the Griffin trade).

For the Bulls, this is a chance to get a little more value out of the Nikola Mirotic trade. Nelson – who, like Reed, is on an expiring minimum contract – provided nothing to tanking Chicago. Reed, who’s one-game into a six-game suspension for domestic violence, probably won’t either. But at least he’s just 27 if the Bulls want to take a flier on evaluating him for next season, and moving up in the second round only helps.

It might even allow Chicago to sell the pick for more money in June.

Report: Thunder among teams interested in Rodney Hood trade

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Rodney Hood was right in the middle of our “five players most likely to be traded” story Monday morning, but having him third may have been too low. Even though his game has some flaws and he’s a restricted free agent next summer, Hood can shoot the rock — averaging 16.4 points per game and hitting 38.7 percent from three — and every team could use more shooting.

Add the Thunder to the list of teams that are interested, reports Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.

 With the NBA’s trade deadline looming Thursday, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons are all showing interest in acquiring Utah Jazz shooting guard Rodney Hood, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned. League sources say the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic have also shown at least a passing interest in Hood, who is set to be a restricted free agent this summer….

The Jazz would like an asset for Hood, according to sources. A first round pick would be optimal. Last week, the Bulls garnered a first-rounder when they traded forward Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans. But the Bulls were forced to take on a bad contract — center Omer Asik — in return. It remains to be seen whether the Jazz would be willing to do that.

The Jazz are not going to get a first-round pick for Hood without taking on a bad contract back, something the franchise is unlikely to do. We’ll see if the Clippers can get a first rounder for Lou Williams, however, in the current market firsts are only available if you take on a bad contract (ala Asik) or you’re trading a real star (such as Blake Griffin). With Hood as a restricted free agent next summer, his value is even less if teams aren’t sure they can re-sign him.

Hood has value, however, and could really help the Pistons or Thunder with depth and shooting. The question for both of those teams, as they flirt with the luxury tax, is how much would they be willing to pay him next season.

Utah is a team to watch as a seller at the deadline. Joe Johnson has requested a trade and the reality is anyone not named Rudy Gobert or Donovan Mitchell is available at the right price. Derrick Favors has also drawn interest.

Report: Greg Monroe to sign one-year, $5 million contract with Celtics

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As soon as the Suns bought out Greg Monroe, the Celtics were the popular pick for his destination.

The Pelicans made a strong push, but in the end, Monroe is Boston-bound.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Celtics could offer so much because they have a disabled-player exception for Gordon Hayward, whom an NBA-appointed doctor ruled was “substantially more likely than not that” to be unable to play through June 15. If Hayward returns this season, there will be some (maybe legitimate) complaints around the league.

Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis have exceeded expectations at center for Boston this season, and Al Horford will often play the position in key situations. But Monroe brings offensive skills – interior scoring, passing – Baynes and Theis can’t match. We’ll see how Brad Stevens handles the rotation and tradeoffs with his centers, but it’s nice to have another option.

For New Orleans, this leaves Anthony Davis at center for the time-being with newly acquired Nikola Mirotic at power forward. Davis seemingly would prefer to play power forward, so – with DeMarcus Cousins out – expect the Pelicans to keep looking for a center. But after trading a first-round pick for Mirotic, New Orleans probably doesn’t have the assets to get someone better than Monroe. This was a big miss, perhaps one that swings the Pelicans’ playoff fortunes.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Nikola Mirotic to Pelicans trade

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Nikola Mirotic was going to get moved at the trade deadline, the only questions were where, and would the Bulls get the first round pick they wanted?

Yes, they did — from a Pelicans team desperate to make the playoffs, battling a major injury and who needs both shooting and more big men. The Mirotic trade to the Big Easy was put together on Thursday and will be official soon.

As a reminder of how this trade shakes out:

Chicago receives: Omer Asik, Tony Allen, Jameer Nelson, a 2018 first-round pick (with a Nos. 1-5 protection this year, so it conveys unless the Pelicans miss the playoffs then land in the top three in the lottery) and the right to swap second-rounders with the Pelicans in 2021.

New Orleans receives: Nikola Mirotic and the Pelicans’ own 2018 second-round pick (New Orleans traded it to Chicago in the Quincy Pondexter salary dump last summer).

So how did everyone do in this deal? Let’s break it down Clint Eastwood style with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good: Nikola Mirotic. He got what he wanted most — the Pelicans agreed to pick up his $12.5 million contract option for next season. Yes, Mirotic wanted to get out of Chicago after the “Bobby Portis broke his face with a punch” incident (although the fallout from that seemed to have mellowed out), and yes he wanted the opportunity to show off his skills, but mostly he wanted the cash. It’s always about the money.

That said, he’s going to get a chance to shine in New Orleans and really help a team trying to hold on to a playoff spot. If the Pelicans sign Greg Monroe (bought out by the Suns) as expected, Mirotic will be the third big, the first off the bench, and they are going to lean on him to create looks and get shots with the second unit. Mirotic is not going to finish the season shooting 42.9 percent from three, that’s already started to slow down, but he can score the rock inside and out, and the Pelicans can use that with DeMarcus Cousins sitting in street clothes and a cast. (Alvin Gentry did a great job of staggering Anthony Davis and Cousins, now that second unit needs the boost.) Plus it means less Darius Miller at the four, which is a good thing.

What’s more, Mirotic may be the perfect guy at the four when Anthony Davis is at the five. That’s why we get to the next “good” part of this trade.

The Good: The New Orleans Pelicans (mostly). New Orleans prioritized making the playoffs this season (read: Alvin Gentry and Dell Demps like their jobs), and since Cousins went down with a torn Achilles the Pelicans have lost to the Clippers and at home to the Kings. It felt like they were about to spiral, but this move (and likely signing of Monroe) likely helps them hold on to a postseason berth.

The Pelicans are not as good as they were with Cousins — and they are locked into playing Mirotic next season — but they will be good enough (considering the Clippers probably take a step back). Also, having Mirotic on the roster next season is some insurance in case Cousins does leave via free agency (most people think he stays, but you never know).

Here may be the best part of the Mirotic trade: We can finally see some Pelicans’ lineups with Anthony Davis at the five and actual shooting around him. How about this lineup: Davis, Mirotic, E'Twaun Moore, Jrue Holiday, and Darius Miller. That lineup has potential. (I just hope Gentry doesn’t screw it up and put Rondo in rather than Miller.)

The only downsides here for the Pelicans are giving up that first-round pick, and adding $1.2 million more in salary to the books next season (that’s how much more Mirotic will make compared to Asik). The Pelicans will be flirting with the luxury tax next season, the advantage is Mirotic will be a contributor to the team on the court, unlike Asik.

The Good: The Bulls “effort” to get a high draft pick. The Bulls will not use the word “tank,” but they should be closer to the bottom of the standings than they are. Chicago started poorly this season but has played well of late (gone 15-13 in their last 28) and if the draft lottery were today it would be seeded sixth (a 6.3 percent chance at the top spot and a 21.4 percent chance of landing in the top three). With this move the Bulls should lose a little more, and stand a better chance of sliding behind the Suns out West and maybe other teams to improve their lottery (and ultimately draft) position.

The Bad: The rest of this deal for Chicago. The Bulls did land the Pelicans first-round draft pick (likely in the high teens somewhere), and that has some value (as long as they learned their Jordan Bell lesson and don’t sell it). But to do that they gave up a strong trade asset in Mirotic, took on salary almost up to what Mirotic would have made had they had just picked up his option, and did they need to give the Pelicans their second-round pick back?

I don’t hate this deal, it’s not selling the Jordan Bell pick bad (or giving up the No. 16 pick in the Jimmy Butler deal), but it’s not great.

The Bad: Anyone who thought the Pelicans would try to trade Anthony Davis this summer. Most non-crazy Celtics fans realized that if New Orleans comes to the realization it has to move Davis or lose him, they won’t do it until the summer of 2019. Go ahead and try to rationalize the “they will get more for him now” arguments if you want, but the reality in New Orleans is far more straightforward: They are not going to see a player like Davis come through for a long time so they need to do everything they can to keep him. Davis isn’t just a No. 1 pick, he’s a top-five NBA player who brings it on both ends, a first-team All-NBA level player, and he is just entering his prime. You don’t trade a guy like that unless you have to.

The Pelicans are going to try to make this all work. Maybe it doesn’t and Danny Ainge can swoop in from the vulture’s perch he’s sitting on and pick the carcass clean, but that’s not happening for more than a year.

The Ugly: The playoff dreams of the Utah Jazz. It was going to be a longshot for the Jazz to make the postseason anyway, they probably need to go at least 21-9 or better the rest of the way to make the cut. However, with the Cousins injury and the Blake Griffin trade from the Clippers, it may have felt in Salt Lake City like the door to the postseason was opening a crack.

This trade to get Mirotic to New Orleans pretty much slams that door shut. It will stop the bleeding in the Big Easy. Sorry Jazz fans, hopefully next year the core can just stay healthy.

Reports: After buyout, Greg Monroe leaning heavily toward Pelicans

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DeMarcus Cousins went down for the season, but New Orleans is not throwing in the towel on the playoffs.

First, they traded for Nikola Mirotic, agreeing to pick up his $12.5 million option for next season, and in doing so moved Omer Asik, Tony Allen, and Jameer Nelson. That freed up a roster spot in New Orleans

Enter Greg Monroe. The former Bucks and Suns center was bought out in Phoenix and will be a free agent. Monroe’s also a New Orleans native and the Pelicans could use a big man, so cue the reports.

The buzz around the league is this is all but a done deal.

I don’t know how much Monroe helps the Pelicans in the postseason, but he might help get them there and he’s as good a pickup as they can make this time of the season. Monroe can provide some scoring inside, either starting alongside Anthony Davis so he doesn’t have to play the five (AD prefers to play the four) or with the second unit. Monroe doesn’t provide any floor spacing or great defense, but for a team looking to fill in minutes along the front line with a solid player, he has a role.