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A potential visit by Nikola Mirotic is news to the Bulls

Updated: August 1, 2014 6:26AM



If forward Nikola Mirotic is done with his team in Spain and headed this week to meet with the Bulls, that was news to the Bulls on Sunday.

According to one source, the Bulls were not informed that Mirotic had grown disenchanted with Real Madrid and was ready to join them.

An article published by the website 24segundosenblanco reported that Mirotic “played his last game with the Madrid shirt. . . . Next week, he travels to the United States.’’

All well and good, especially because general manager Gar Forman said Thursday that Mirotic and the Bulls had a mutual interest in making something happen “whether it’s for this season or next.’’

The Bulls hold the NBA rights to Mirotic after trading for him in the 2011 draft and would provide $600,000 toward his reported $3 million buyout with Real Madrid.

The problem is Mirotic is a back-burner option for the Bulls at this point, and until they know where they stand with free agent Carmelo Anthony, Mirotic can come to the United States, but he had better have some sightseeing plans to kill some time.

The Bulls need as much salary room as possible in their pitch for Anthony.

Anthony is scheduled to meet with the Bulls first on Tuesday, before heading to Texas to meet with the Rockets and Mavericks.

Mirotic only comes into play if the Bulls lose out in the Anthony sweepstakes, especially now that all signs point to LeBron James returning to the Heat.

With Anthony and James out of the picture, the Bulls will look to add depth as well as outside shooting.

The drafting of Creighton forward Doug McDermott was a step toward that, and Mirotic would be another weapon to pull defenders out from the rim.

Sources insisted that power forward Carlos Boozer is not in the Bulls’ plans, meaning they’re set to invoke the amnesty provision on his contract.

If the asking price for Mirotic is in the $5 million range, that still would leave the Bulls with close to $7 million to play with in free agency.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops



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