As free agency rolls on, Nikola Mirotic and the Bulls have still not come to terms on a contract.
The Bulls front office has voiced their interest in bringing back Mirotic since the season ended. Despite his inconsistent play, John Paxson and Gar Forman like him as part of the core with their sound bite, “We value Niko.”
The Bulls extended their qualifying offer, $7,228,063 according to hoopshype.com, to Mirotic when free agency began on July 1.
For the latest on the Mirotic contract situation, Sean Highkin of The Athletic Chicago reported Thursday that Mirotic’s side and the Bulls are continuing to to talk about a new deal.
“both sides have consistently said, publicly and privately, that they want a return. Mirotic is comfortable in Chicago after moving his family to the city from Spain in 2014, and the Bulls still believe he can more consistently produce the way that he has at times over the last three years.” -Sean Highkin’s post from theathletic.com
I wrote about my view that the Bulls are better off with Mirotic not coming back. But the Bulls see it as the exact opposite. They believe he can be a key piece to the rebuild and still only being 26, is entering the best years of his career.
One thing the Bulls cannot do is overpay for the 6′ 10″ forward. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Mirotic has gained the interest of two other teams. If other teams are willing to overpay or go over what the Bulls set the bar at, you have to let him go. His inconsistency and lack of defensive improvement does not earn him a big contract.
One thing I could see end up happening is both sides agreeing on playing on the one year qualifying offer and resume talks next summer. This gives Mirotic a chance to step up, prove his worth and earn a big contract. Remember, he is still only 26 and should be entering the best years of his career. If you want the big pay day, go out and prove it. And the one year deal could be the reality because right now, it looks like the Bulls and Mirotic’s camp are far off in contract discussions.