By: Robert Weihofen
They will, they won’t, they will, they won’t. It’s official, they will.
Mid-Day on Thursday, the Bulls and Pelicans struck a deal to send Nikola Mirotic, and a Second-Round pick to New Orleans for former Bulls Big Man Omer Asik, a First-Round Pick, and a few other players to clear cap clearing for the Pelicans. With Mirotic’s time in the Windy City done, let us reflect on some of his most fond and memorable moments with the Bulls.
5. NBA Debut:
He was the European sensation that Bulls fan thought would help with the departure of players like Deng, and also the missing piece to an NBA Title run with Rose and Noah at the helm. It was talked about all summer leading up to the 2014-2015 season if he would come over, but the Bulls brass was not liking the idea of having to pay his buyout from EuroLeague Team. But, after time they came around and made the move to bring him over. On October 29th, 2014 Mirotic took to an NBA court for the first time. He played a limited role scoring just Five points, but it was the start of a rollercoaster stint in Chicago.
4. End of Rookie Season
Mirotic was electric to end his rookie season, leading the NBA in Fourth-Quarter scoring in March, well putting up a staggering 20.8 PPG to finish out March and the regular season. But once again under Coach Thibodeau, he saw his minutes go down in key moments, which fans alike were left questioning until the start of the next season.
3. Finding Chemisty
When the Bulls said they wanted to get younger and more athletic, they brought in Wade and Rondo, the opposite of that. When this happened, Mirotic saw his minutes dwindle, and even lose a starting spot over the course of the season. He even lost one of his closet teammates in Pau Gasol leaving in the offseason. Once again Mirotic was left trying to find his place and how he fit with the team.
2. The Return
After missing the start of this season, Mirotic returned in force, sparking the worst team in the league onto an absurd winning streak, and finally finding some chemistry in the team. Ironically, with the guy who gave him a facial fracture He blazed a path, playing the best basketball of his career. He was averaging 16.8 PPG up until the trade, and that lead him all the way to New Orleans as of yesterday.
1. The Punch
Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic, one fight, a concussion, and a facial fracture later, it seemed like the Bulls were going downhill faster and faster everyday. It took a long time to mend fences, and some never healed, but they played some great basketball together on the court and the Bulls were able to work through the worst of it.
After all the ups and downs Mirotic had with the Bulls, both sides were able to make the most of it, and now both can go their own ways into the sunset.