Chicago Bulls, NBA Free Agency

Nikola Mirotic returns to the Chicago Bulls on a two-year deal

The Chicago Bulls spent the weekend negotiating and getting their house in order before media day on Monday.

Restricted free agent big man Nikola Mirotic reached an agreement to return to the Chicago Bulls according to Shams Charania of Yahoo!.

A summer that was tough for restricted free agents is ending, and the Bulls brought back one of their own in Mirotic. The two sides reached an agreement on a two-year $27 million deal. The two sides discussed long term deals all offseason. The Oct. 1 deadline was bearing down on both. Had that deadline been reached Mirotic would have had a one-year, $7.2 million qualifying offer and then become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

In the story by Charania, it’s noted that the terms of Mirotic’s new deal allow him to veto any trade in the first season. With the Bulls in a rebuilding season, that was a powerful negotiating piece. Mirotic enters the season as the second-highest paid player on the team.

A former first round pick of the team, Mirotic is a stretch-4 Last season he averaged 10.6 points per game and 5.5 rebounds. Chicago drafted stretch big man Lauri Markkanen with the seventh pick of this last year’s draft. Some around the league envisioned him as a replacement for Mirotic, now the two will be splitting minutes.

For all the movement in Chicago this offseason their front court will be an interesting subplot. Mirotic and Makkanen will fight for minutes with veteran Robin Lopez, and fellow big men Cristiano Felicio and Bobby Portis.

Lopez is an ideal candidate for a mid-season trade to a contender. It would open up minutes for the youngsters and get something in return for a veteran not needed in the rebuild.

The Bulls also made another roster move over the weekend, reaching a buyout agreement with star Dwyane Wade. Chicago clearly has their sights set on the future, with a loaded 2018 lottery coming up this offseason.

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