Busy Bulls add Nikola Mirotic, re-sign Kirk Hinrich
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter July 13, 2014 5:22PM
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Updated: July 14, 2014 11:48AM
LAS VEGAS — Is it an NBA championship roster?
But with a two-day flurry of moves by the Bulls coming to an end Sunday evening, general manager Gar Forman has at least given his team a chance to compete in a weak Eastern Conference and maybe, with a few breaks, step on the NBA Finals stage.
Forman quickly picked up the pieces after finishing second in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes.
After adding Pau Gasol, a member of two NBA championship teams, as a free agent Saturday, veteran guard Kirk Hinrich was re-signed Sunday, with 2011 draft-day acquisition Nikola Mirotic coming to an agreement soon after.
“I am very happy and excited to announce that next season I will be playing with the @chicagobulls. Today I fulfill a dream,” Mirotic tweeted.
He reportedly agreed to a three-year, $17 million deal. The 6-10 Mirotic, who was named the Spanish League MVP in 2013, is the prototypical stretch four, but according to several sources, he’ll need a lot of work in coach Tom Thibodeau’s system before he starts getting significant minutes.
That won’t be the case for Hinrich. He averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 assists for the Bulls last season, taking over the starting duties from Derrick Rose when the former MVP went down with a season-ending knee injury 10 games into the season.
Hinrich’s presence is huge for what Thibodeau likes to do defensively and he gives the team a two-point-guard attack late in games. Expect Hinrich — who reportedly signed a two-year, $5.6 million deal with a player option for the second year — to not only give Rose a breather, but also play alongside him in key situations.
The Bulls weren’t only in the news for what they added, but what they used to have. Luol Deng signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Miami Heat. He spent 10 seasons with the Bulls before being traded to the Cavaliers in January after turning down a three-year, $30 million offer from his former team.
The only major piece of business that has to be made official is the Bulls’ use of the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer, clearing his $16.8 million off their cap so they can add Gasol and Mirotic. They have until Wednesday to finalize Boozer’s status.