If the Bulls have made up their minds to trade Nikola Mirotic this winter, there appears to be no shortage of interested parties.
Three teams have been mentioned as potential destinations in the last couple days: the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers.
First came ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi, who wrote in a lengthy piece on the NBA as a whole that Mirotic "has been intrigued with" the Jazz. Wojnarowski went as far to say that the Bulls are planning to deal Mirotic away from Chicago.
The New York Times' Marc Stein was next up with a piece of Mirotic news, adding the Pistons to the mix.
The Pistons have joined Utah in expressing trade interest for Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic, according to league sources— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 9, 2018
And the Tribune's K.C. Johnson added from there, confirming the Pistons' interest and throwing in the Trail Blazers', as well, adding the Bulls are looking for a first-round pick in return.
Can confirm Pistons have shown preliminary interest in Mirotic, per source. @TheSteinLine 1st. Also told Portland could join mix with Jazz and Pistons. Bulls motivated to get 1st round pick for Niko.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 9, 2018
Much has changed for Mirotic and the Bulls since the offseason. Mirotic's contract situation remains the same: The Bulls can't trade him before Jan. 15, nor can they trade him without him approving the deal. Stein threw in a caveat, though, that the Bulls can pick up Mirotic's option, extending his contract and taking away his veto authority,
The prospect of Mirotic being moved before the Feb. 8 trade deadline looks increasingly likely, league sources say, with a deal potentially hinging on the level of draft compensation Chicago gets— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 9, 2018
Important to note: If the Bulls pick up their team option on Nikola Mirotic for next season before trading him, Mirotic would lose his current veto power over a trade as because his current contract would become a two-year deal.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 9, 2018
But, Mirotic's value seems to have grown since he returned from the facial injuries sustained when Bobby Portis punched him right before the start of the season. Mirotic has been extremely productive, boasting a 17.4 scoring average and contributing seven rebounds a game. He's shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 46.5 percent from 3-point range, averaging 2.5 makes from beyond the arc per contest.
The Bulls have also been vastly more successful with him on the floor, going on a seven-game winning streak as soon as he returned and owning an 11-6 record with him in uniform.
While Mirotic has done a lot in the last month-plus to show that he does have long-term value, capitalizing on this hot streak would be wise for the rebuilding Bulls. And if they could get a first-round pick in return, it sets up the ability to add two players in the first 30 picks of this summer's loaded draft.