If there was ever a more pertinent time for the Chicago Bulls to move Nikola Mirotic to the main roster, it would be this summer.
After drafting him in 2011, the Bulls have stowed Mirotic away with his club team Real Madrid for the right time to entice the European phenom to head to the United States. With the comparisons being drawn to former Bulls star Toni Kukoc, expectations are high for the young big man to be an impact player in Chicago.
And yet, the Bulls have not made any decision or timetable on Mirotic joining the team. With the imminent departure of Carlos Boozer this summer and the possibility of Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony coming to Chicago, Mirotic could be a key addition to the Bulls’ roster next season.
He is a talented scorer and an even better passer for a guy his size, and has been tearing it up over the past few seasons playing in Spain. Last season, he won the MVP of the ACB league, the youngest player to do so in the league’s history.
Although financial and contract issues are a concern for the Bulls this offseason with Mirotic, considering there is buyout cost from his club and other financial obligations to complete his move to the NBA, there could be an underlying reason it has taken so long for the Bulls to make a decision. It is common knowledge to the entire NBA that Mirotic is talented prospect, and the Bulls know that. Could they soon be using him as a coveted asset for trade purposes?
It makes sense, especially if the Bulls end up trading for a big-name star like Love instead of signing one in free agency.
Mirotic’s game is certainly suited more towards the European style of play, much like that of Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol. Although not as big and physically dominant in the paint as the Spaniards, he has a better shooting stroke from outside of 15 feet and can score off the dribble.
Now, whether his game would translate effectively to a Tom Thibodeau offensive scheme remains to be seen. The Bulls haven’t had a dominant player with a European skillset since Kukoc.
Mirotic is a high-risk, high-reward player for the Bulls. Whether he makes it to the NBA this season or not remains to be seen, but both parties need to make a decision this summer when interest in him is at its highest. If either party drags this out for another year or two, Mirotic’s impact on his team and the league will be diminished.