Fantasy Slant: Bulls PF Nikola Mirotic Traded to Pelicans

By Matt Johnson on Thursday, February 1st 2018
Fantasy Slant: Bulls PF Nikola Mirotic Traded to Pelicans

UPDATE: 10:45 a.m.

Now the deal is back on just a few days after Adrian Wojnarowski reported things stalled out. Below you can find the fantasy analysis from the original story on the trade.

Original: Jan. 30, 2018

Less than a week after losing DeMarcus Cousins for the rest of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans have now found another big man to pair with Anthony Davis. On Tuesday, the Pelicans reportedly agreed to send Omer Asik and a first-round pick to the Chicago Bulls for power forward Nikola Mirotic.NBCSports Chicago's Vincent Goodwill first reported word of the deal.

New Orleans entered Tuesday sixth in the Western Conference and determined to be buyers with the NBA Trade Deadline approaching even after losing Cousins for the season. Finding another big man to pair with Davis became the top need immediately and now it seems they've addressed it.

Mirotic, 26, asked for a trade out of Chicago earlier this season and the team granted his wish after finding the right return package for his services. The 6'10" power forward posted outstanding numbers while on the court for the Bulls this season with 16.8 points, 6.4 rebounds 2.8 three-pointers made and a 47.4 field-goal percentage in nearly 25 minutes per game.

For fantasy owners, the landing spot couldn't be much better than New Orleans. Mirotic should step into the starting lineup fairly quickly and see a sharp increase in minutes. He'll also play with a big man who can draw attention towards the paint and dish it out to Mirotic behind the three-point line, just as Davis did for Cousins this season. Pelicans' point guard Jrue Holiday is also in the midst of a strong season and his ability to feed Mirotic and help create open shots for him, will serve as a big boost for Mirotic's fantasy value.

Not only does New Orleans fill the void at power forward, but the team also offloaded Asik's contract. The 31-year-old makes nearly $10.6 million this season and is due $11.28 million in 2018 with a $3 million termination clause in 2019. So the Pelicans cleared off a bad contract and filled a direct void that should help them remain in the thick of a playoff race, but it came at a cost.

From Chicago's perspective, the ability to gain a first-round pick for Mirotic and the remaining $14.3 million in the next two seasons of Asik's contract is worth it. This is a rebuilding team with young, promising pieces and a desire to clear out more minutes for Bobby Portis and Lauri Markkanen.

Now both should see a boost in minutes, especially Portis from his 20.3 minutes per game this season. Markkanen is likely already owned in most fantasy leagues, but Portis makes for a nice pickup going forward if this trade becomes official.

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