The Chicago Bulls have traded power forward Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Bulls will reportedly receive center Omer Asik, shooting guard Tony Allen, point guard Jameer Nelson and their 2018 first-round pick with very few protections. Chicago will also give up the second-round pick that they acquired from the Pelicans in a trade for Quincy Pondexter.
Mirotic didn’t play in the Bulls’ Wednesday matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, which added fire to the trade rumors that had been circulating for months.
In 25 games this year, the sharp-shooting stretch four has averaged 16.8 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game and a 42.9 three-point percentage.
With the season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans needed another big man to pair up with Anthony Davis. Mirotic gives them a reliable threat from beyond the arc.
Asik has played in 14 games this year, averaging 1.3 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game. This will be his second stint with the Bulls, as he played with the team from 2010 to 2012.
Wojnarowski reported that Allen and Nelson will both likely be waived.
UPDATE: Nelson will reportedly stay on the Bulls’ roster.
This move confirms that the Pelicans are aiming for the playoffs, despite losing Cousins for the season, and that the Bulls are planning on continuing their rebuild.