The Milwaukee Bucks may be considering a trade for New Orleans Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.
With just over 24 hours remaining until the NBA trade deadline, the latest rumors suggest the Milwaukee Bucks could be set to swoop in with a trade offer for an in-demand New Orleans Pelicans big man.
While Anthony Davis may have included the Bucks on a list of destinations where he’d be prepared to re-sign long-term, it’s unclear whether the same applies for this player.
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Of course, I’m referring to the Pelicans’ 27-year-old Montenegrin forward Nikola Mirotic.
Mirotic is currently enjoying a career-year in New Orleans with averages of 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game on 36.8 percent shooting from three-point range. With the wider uncertainty sparked among the Pelicans by Davis’ trade request, Mirotic is widely viewed as an elite role player who’s inevitably drawing interest at the deadline.
According to a report from the Sporting News’ Mitch Lawrence, the Bucks are among the teams considering a move for Mirotic:
"“[The Bucks are] trying to figure out how they can add one more perimeter shooter. They’ve been working on a smaller deal or two, primarily to see if they can bolster a team that has yet to suffer through a losing streak this season. After missing out on a bid to get Kyle Korver before the Cavs shipped him to Utah, the Bucks believed to be looking at Davis’ teammate Nikola Mirotic, according to league sources.”"
Not only would a deal for Mirotic provide the Bucks with another quality perimeter shooter, and an otherwise skilled big, but it would also fit in line with the team’s reported interest in adding to their frontcourt depth, as was first reported by Lawrence’s colleague Sean Deveney.
Mirotic is unlikely to be sold off at a discount, though, and Lawrence notes that he’s already been a target for the Philadelphia 76ers.
"“League sources say the Sixers have already been calling the Pels, recently offering two second-round picks for Mirotic in a bid to upgrade their anemic bench.”"
Whether the acquisition of Tobias Harris changes that remains to be seen, but the fact remains that Philadelphia desperately needs to find some kind of depth.
Just as Philadelphia’s recent deal may change their outlook on Mirotic, it remains to be seen whether the Bucks look to continue dealing in the aftermath of Wednesday’s Thon Maker for Stanley Johnson deal with the Pistons.
If anything, that deal reduced Milwaukee’s frontcourt stocks and perhaps made a wing more dispensable in additional negotiations over the next 24 hours.
Any deal for Mirotic would likely come at the cost of multiple second round picks along with a potentially intriguing young player, yet that price would at least have the potential to provide dividends in both the short and long term. On top of being an extremely capable contributor who would be a major help in the playoffs, Mirotic’s $12.5 million deal expires this summer.
As a result, if the Bucks could find a deal for Mirotic involving a longer term salary such as Tony Snell or Ersan Ilyasova, it would be a big help to Milwaukee’s pursuit of cap space for this summer.