By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Milwaukee Bucks acquired forward Nikola Mirotić in a trade on Thursday at the NBA trade deadline. In exchange, the New Orleans Pelicans are adding forward Stanley Johnson, center Jason Smith and four second-round draft picks.
It was almost given that Mirotić would be traded by the trade deadline. The Pelicans made him and Julius Randle available earlier in the week.
The Bucks are a surprise trade partner. But this move improves their bench.
Mirotić also gives his new team a boost from beyond the arc. Presently, Milwaukee takes 41.6% of their shots from three-point range.
That is the second-most in the entire association.
He could also be Milwaukee’s new sixth man now. In addition, with the Bucks’ defense-collapsing penetration, he could receive many open looks in the final weeks of the regular season.
Mirotić is presently recovering from an injury. He has been battling a strained calf and likely will not play for the team until after the All-Star break.
He will also take playing time from Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson.
Mirotić will be playing for his third NBA team. He returns to the Eastern Conference with this move after beginning his career with the Chicago Bulls.
With the Pelicans, Mirotić appeared in 62 games, including 33 starts. He averaged 15.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game.
This season, he appeared in 32 games with 22 starts. He is averaging 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks per contest.
Johnson was just acquired in a trade for Thon Maker by the Bucks on Feb. 6. He did not suit up for the Bucks after the trade from the Detroit Pistons.
This season, Johnson has had 48 appearances, including seven starts. He is averaging 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game.
In his career, he has made 267 appearances with 64 starts. He is averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game.
Smith — who has bounced around to many teams in his career — was just acquired by the Bucks in a three-team deal in Dec. 2018. This will be his seventh NBA franchise that would play for.
He began the 2018-19 season with the Washington Wizards before being traded to the Bucks. After being acquired by the Bucks, he made six appearances with the team. He averaged 2.2 points. 1.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.3 steals, and 0.3 blocks.