Montenegrin ready to make transition to NBA in the upcoming season.
Chicago Bulls star Nikola Mirotic has revealed that he “always dreamt” about playing for the franchise and valued how hard they pushed to sign him.
The 23-year-old signed a three-year deal worth $18m this week and was officially presented to the media on Friday alongside fellow new signing Pau Gasol.
While the Spaniard is expected to act as his mentor during his first year in the league, Mirotic has proven during his spell with the Real Madrid that he will be a real talent in the NBA and the Bulls are excited to have finally brought him over to the USA.
Mirotic averaged 12.4 points in 31 games in the Liga ACB last season, and his ability to space the floor and shoot from beyond the arc and is just one aspect of his game that attracted the Bulls to him.
The Montenegrin was shooting 50.8 percent from the field last season and 46.1 percent from three-point range, and he will form part of a strong roster in Chicago next season after Gasol was added to the likes of Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose.
“It’s a pleasure to have that opportunity for me,” Mirotic said Friday.
“Since I have been drafted in 2011, I have watched many games of the Bulls’, and I’ve always dreamt about the moment of being here and playing with them. And now that I’m here, I’ll work as hard as possible to get the most out of it and the most victories next season.”
Mirotic had been expected to remain in Madrid another year but ultimately the lure of Chicago was too much to ignore this summer and he will join a championship contender next season that will be highly fancied to come through the Eastern Conference.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers will undoubtedly be the favourites to prevail given their recruitment this summer in signing LeBron James and adding Andrew Wiggins with the No.1 overall draft pick, the Bulls will hope to make the most of their own strengths and be as competitive as possible under coach Tom Thibodeau.
However, much will still depend on the health of point guard Rose, who is recovering from two serious knee injuries and will need to prove his fitness in the upcoming campaign before leading the team towards the NBA Finals.