PORTLAND, Ore. — The trade deadline is less than a month away and the NBA social media landscape is already littered with rumors.
The Blazers have been named in notable reports the past two days. On Monday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned Portland in an article about potential buyers and sellers at the trade deadline market, reporting the Blazers were interested in finding an upgrade at small forward.
Then on Tuesday, Portland was among three teams mentioned that could pursue Chicago Bulls' sharp-shooting power forward Nikola Mirotic before the trade deadline.
New York Times NBA reporter Marc Stein reported on Tuesday that the Pistons and Jazz are expressing interest in Mirotic. K.C. Johnson, who covers the Bulls for the Chicago Tribune, followed that report with a tweet saying he's been told Portland could join the pursuit.
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
Johnson said the Bulls want a first-round pick in any trade for Mirotic.
It's no surprise Mirotic is on the trade block for the Bulls. He asked to be traded earlier this season after he was punched by teammate Bobby Portis, an incident that left him in the hospital with a fractured face and a concussion. Mirotic has reiterated his trade demand in the past couple weeks.
The Bulls started 3-20 while Mirotic recovered, but upon his return on Dec. 8, Chicago proceeded to win seven in a row. They are 11-7 since he returned.
The 6-foot-10 Mirotic leads the Bulls in scoring with 17.4 points despite playing only 25.1 minutes per game. He's also averages seven rebounds per game and is shooting 46.5 percent on 5.9 3-point attempts per game. The team has been 12.6 points better per 100 possessions when he's on the court this season.
During his four-year NBA career, the 26-year-old power forward has averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 23 minutes per game while shooting 36.1 percent from the 3-point line.
Mirotic has a no-trade clause in his contract, but said he's willing to waive it. Because he signed a two-year contract in the summer before training camp, he can't be traded until Jan. 15. The Bulls have indicated they plan to trade him before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.
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