Former Bull Wins EuroLeague MVP

Nikola Mirotic

Getty Images Nikola Mirotic

Former Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic hasn’t played in the NBA in three seasons after he last played for the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks in the 2018-19 season. After that season Mirotic decided to go play for FC Barcelona in the EuroLeague.

Since his return to Europe Mirotic has been playing at a high level and recently won the EuroLeague MVP award for the 2021-22 season. Mirotic averaged 16.6 points per game, ranking second in the league while becoming just the second player in the EuroLeague to post a shooting split of 65% from the field, 45% from three, and 85% from the free-throw line.

The MVP award isn’t the first honor Mirotic has received since his return to Europe. He’s twice been named All-EuroLeague First Team in 2021 and 2022, won the Spanish League MVP in 2020, and won the Spanish League Finals MVP in 2021.

Mirotic’s individual success has also been huge for FC Barcelona. Since he joined the team they’ve won the Spanish Cup in 2021 and 2022 and won the Spanish League in 2021.

Time With the Bulls

Mirotic was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall pick in the NBA Draft before he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves and then the Bulls on draft night. He didn’t play in the NBA though until he joined the Bulls for the 2014-15 season.

Mirotic made an instant impact for the Bulls as he was named First Team All-Rookie and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting after averaging 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Mirotic spent three and a half seasons with the Bulls averaging 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

He was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2017-18 season after an altercation with Bulls teammate Bobby Portis landed him in the hospital earlier in the season. Mirotic played for the Pelicans for parts of two seasons before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2018-19 season, which was his last in the NBA.

Possible NBA Return?

Mirotic is still just 31 years old and could certainly still play a role for an NBA team. With the way, he’s been playing it’s fair to wonder if Mirotic would be interested in a return to the NBA. However, a source close to Mirotic recently told Heavy’s Sean Deveney that he might not be interested in a return.

“He has not ever indicated that he wants to come back or he regrets leaving. There has been nothing to say he wants to be back in the NBA. He seems to be at peace with that decision.”
Mirotic was still playing well during his last season in the NBA averaging 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 43.9% from the field and 36.5% from three. Since he was still playing well it’s fair to say that Mirotic could’ve stayed in the NBA if he wanted to.
If the right offer comes along in the future it’s always possible that Mirotic could change his mind. But for right now it seems like he’ll continue tearing up the EuroLeague in the near future.
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