The Utah Jazz seem to be a very interested party when it comes to Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic, and there's a new report out there that indicates what could be coming the Bulls' way in a potential deal.
Three separate reports over the last few days have linked the Jazz to Mirotic — with a couple of those reports listing additional teams, too, namely the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons — and it makes sense that Mirotic's name is popping up in trade chatter. After all, the rebuilding Bulls would be wise to cash in on Mirotic now, when he's the team's leading scorer and has helped earn 11 wins since making his season debut.
The new report, from Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, takes things a step further, however, saying the two teams are engaged in trade discussions and listing big man Derrick Favors as a guy the Jazz are offering up in those conversations.
That wouldn't be all, you would have to figure, as some of those aforementioned reports from the past few days have said the Bulls are looking to acquire a first-round pick, a no-brainer considering the Bulls are trying to strengthen their rebuilding efforts.
The Bulls can't deal Mirotic until Jan. 15, which is now just a few days away. Mirotic also has a no-trade clause, meaning he'd have to approve any deal that sent him out of Chicago. The Bulls could navigate around that by picking up Mirotic's contract option for next season.
Favors was the third-overall pick in the 2010 draft, picked by the then New Jersey Nets and then traded after 56 games to Utah in the deal that sent former Illinois star Deron Williams to the East Coast. Favors has been playing in the Beehive State ever since with varying levels of production. This season, he's averaging 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. He's two years removed from a career-high 16.4 scoring average, be it in only 62 games. Last season, that number fell off a cliff to just 9.5 points a game in only 50 games.
Favors, though, is a free agent after this season, meaning his expiring contract would come off the books for the rebuilding Bulls should they acquire him. Getting a draft pick would seem to be far more valuable in this hypothetical Mirotic trade.
Expect plenty more Mirotic trade buzz as the league moves toward its Feb. 8 trade deadline. Mirotic has been stellar since returning from the facial fractures sustained when Bobby Portis punched him in the face right before the season began. In 17 games, Mirotic is averaging 17.4 points and 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.