With the main target for the Chicago Bulls in this free agency slowly drifting away from them, they’re starting to test over avenues of improvement, first and foremost trying to finally sign their draft pick from three years ago, Spanish-Montenegrin stretch forward Nikola Mirotic, currently under contract at Real Madrid.
The Bulls would have loved to sign Carmelo Anthony, but it seems like someone they’ve been after since midway through last season has other prefernces – the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the two obviously. The Bulls, planning on amnestying Carlos Boozer, thought they’d open up enough cap space to sign Anthony. Now, their intentions are about other matters.
Mirotic is coming to the United States, determined to make his NBA debut. The Bulls used their 23rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft to select Mirotic, now 23, who has been playing for Real Madrid since 2008, winning every possible individual award with the team, although failing to win the Euroleague with the team, twice losing in the finals.
Mirotic has been talked about as the new Dirk Nowitzki, but it seems that every stretch-four player coming from Europe with the height and 3-point shooting numbers to match Nowitzki’s blueprint is being compared to the German star, who’ll end up in the hall of fame once he retires.
Mirotic averaged 12.4 points in 24 minutes a night, shooting 46.1% from beyond the arc. The Bulls have been lacking in the 3-point shooting department since Kyle Korver left as the Bulls disassembled their bench mob over the last couple of seasons.
Mirotic has a $3 million buyout on his contract with Real Madrid, that goes on for one more season. The Bulls can pay $600,000 without it counting against their cap. Any more, and it makes it impossible for them to still sign someone of Anthony’s caliber.