Report: Bulls Are Loyal To Nikola Mirotic

The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly prefer the Chicago Bulls’ potential trade package of Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and Nikola Mirotic for stranded superstar Kevin Love. One small problem for the ‘Wolves: Chicago might not actually offer it. According to the Chicago Tribune, of the reasons the Bulls are hesitant to complete such a trade is an assurance they made to Mirotic that he’d be in the Windy City for the long-haul.

The Tribune’s David Haugh offers unique insight on Chicago’s commitment to Mirotic (subscription required).

…Those who work for Reinsdorf stick around a long time because they not only share that fundamental belief but practice it, which brings us to the rumored Bulls trade of Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott for Love.

Mirotic bought out his contract with Real Madrid of the Spanish League only after the Bulls committed to keeping him in Chicago, according to a source familiar with negotiations…

Smart business move or not, dealing Mirotic after earning his trust over three years would be contrary to everything Reinsdorf wants his organizations to represent and a departure from how the Bulls typically operate. It would be bold but borderline betrayal. It might lead to more victories but overall result in the loss of respect, and the Bulls traditionally care about both.

Perhaps that explains why, as of Thursday, Mirotic and his representatives remained under the impression the 6-foot-10 forward was not part of any “significant offer” the Bulls made for Love…

Haugh also notes that Mirotic moved his wife and young son from overseas with the promise that he’d be playing for the Bulls. Another complicating matter is the $3 million buyout – paid from his own pocket, remember – that Mirotic completed with Real Madrid to come to the NBA.

Chicago seems intent on maintaining its stance as one of the most player-friendly organizations in basketball, and uprooting Mirotic before he gets settled with the Bulls flies in the face of that established identity.

The Bulls would certainly fare better in the short-term eschewing their mantra and adding Love, though. They’d miss Gibson’s all-court defensive influence, but a Tom Thibodeau-helmed team featuring defenders like Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler will always be close to great on that side of the ball. It’s the other end where Chicago struggles, and Love’s individual offensive prowess figures to weigh more than the combined, fully-realized impact of Mirotic and McDermott. Accelerating the Bulls’ timeline matters, too; Noah turns 30 in February, and key ancillary pieces Pau Gasol, Kirk Hinrich, and Mike Dunleavy are firmly on the downside of their careers.

According to Haugh, however, things are bigger than basketball in Chicago, and Mirotic, Gibson, and McDermott appear most likely to remain with the Bulls as a result. And while owner Jerry Reinsdorf and company are to be commended for that belief system, it won’t lead to a better chance for a title in 2014-2015.

(H/T Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk)

What do you think of Chicago’s stance?

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