Chicago Bulls trade forward Nikola Mirotic to Pelicans

The Chicago Bulls have traded forward Nikola Mirotic to the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Pelicans are sending center Omer Asik, guards Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson and a future first-round draft pick to Chicago, which will send New Orleans’ 2018 second-round pick back to the Pelicans, league sources said. As part of the deal, the Pelicans will guarantee Mirotic’s $12.5 million team option for the 2018-19 season, league sources said. Mirotic signed a two-year contract in free agency last summer, which gave him rights to veto any trade for a year if the team involved didn’t guarantee the option.

Mirotic, 26, missed the first 23 games of the season after suffering maxillary facial fractures and a concussion in a preseason practice altercation with Bobby Portis.

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Mirotic is in the midst of his best season, averaging 16.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 42.9 percent shooting from 3-point range. In three-plus seasons with the Bulls, Mirotic averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Mirotic was selected No. 23 overall in 2011 and is expected to give the Pelicans some much-needed 3-point shooting and frontcourt depth after the loss of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Chicago plans to release forward Quincy Pondexter to create roster space for the trade, league sources said.

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