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Bulls Offseason 2012: Nikola Mirotic Will Likely Stay Overseas Until 2014-15

The Chicago Bulls pulled off a draft-night deal for Nikola Mirotic in the 2011 NBA Draft, and they certainly need help early next season, but don't expect the 6-foot-10 power forward to find his way to the NBA any time soon. The 21-year-old prospect put together a terrific season in the ABC Spanish League with Real Madrid and racked some some serious accomplishments in the Euroleague as well. In addition to winning his second-consecutive Rising Stars Trophy, he also expanded his offensive game by becoming a better long range shooter and getting to the free throw line more often (where he led the Euroleague by shooting 91.8 percent).

Sounds like someone the Bulls could use ASAP, right? Not so fast. Bulls general manager Gar Forman recently spoke about the future of the team, and Adam Fluck of has the relevant quotes regarding Mirotic:

"He'll remain under contract with Real Madrid for the next couple years. But it's certainly our goal and our expectation that Nikola will be in a Chicago Bulls uniform somewhere down the line. We'll continue to monitor his progress and feel really good about the development that's taking place.

"He's seeing major minutes for Real Madrid. When he does come over, we think he's really got a chance to be a key piece to what we're trying to put together."

Fluck does the math of Forman's informal "next couple years" language and places Mirotic's arrival date as likely 2014-15. It will be interesting to see if the Bulls make any push to get the young big man over by 2013-14, as they may need another big body and should be looking to avoid an expensive stopgap in free agency.

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