As sad as it was to see Derrick Rose once again go down with a serious knee injury, the Bulls, particularly management, had no choice but to begin moving towards the future.
The main source of optimism for Chicago’s future is 6″10 power forward, Nikola Mirotic.
A first round pick in 2011, Mirotic’s buyout has kept him overseas, where as a member of Real Madrid, he has risen to become one of the best players in the Euroleague.
The stretch-four is one of two players in Euroleague history to have a 50/40/90 season. This year, he is shooting 63 percent from the field, 64 percent from three-point range and 86 percent from the free throw line and his team is 9-0, per Chicagonow.com.
For the Bulls and NBA fans alike, the only thing better than Mirotic’s production overseas, is the fact that his salary restrictions from the rookie scale expire in June. What this means is that he is able to negotiate as a free agent and Chicago will likely sign him to a contract worth the mid-level exception, netting him $5.305 million in his first season in the NBA.
HoopsHype.com was the first to report that over the weekend, Bulls management met with Mirotic and are doing everything that they can to bring the Euroleague star over for the 2014-2015 season.
If Chicago signs Mirotic to a four-year contract, he can pay the $2.84 million that figures to be left on his buyout after the Bulls contributions and then recoup that money plus more, in his signing bonus.
Per bleacher report, the Real Madrid star is shooting an incredibly efficient 72 percent at the rim and 52 percent from mid-range in addition to the previously mentioned 64 percent from beyond the arc.
He is a highly intelligent player, who uses his impressive agility to attack the basket. With Mirotic on the court, Real Madrid’s offensive rating is 128.2. Without him, that number drops all the way down to 114.4. His team also gives up 6.5 more points per game when he is sitting on the bench. For context, this would give him the highest net rating amongst NBA players averaging at least 20 minutes per game, per nba.com.
Mirotic is the complete package and will help spread the floor, creating space for hopefully a healthy Rose and providing the team with a knockdown three-point shooter.
During what figures to remain a trying season for Chicago, Mirotic represents the hope for a brighter future.