Pelicans trade Nikola Mirotic for two players, four second round picks

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Nikola Mirotic

Niko come, Niko go.

The New Orleans Pelicans have executed a second trade before today’s NBA deadline, shipping forward Nikola Mirotic to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The trade of the 6-foot-10 stretch power forward brings back Stanley Johnson and former New Orleans big man Jason Smith plus four second round picks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Mirotic was acquired last year mid-season and helped the Pelicans reach the playoffs and win a first-round series. With the roster reshaping just underway in the wake of the trade request by Anthony Davis, the soon-to-be 28-year old veteran in the final year of his contract has been sent to the team with the league’s top record for assets.

Johnson, a 6-foot-7 former lottery pick out of Arizona, had just been traded to Milwaukee from the Detroit Pistons for center Thon Maker. In fact, the 22-year old never played a game for Milwaukee. Johnson has averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in his career.

The 32-year-old Smith is averaging 3.2 points and 2.7 rebounds this season. The 11-year pro played for New Orleans from 2010 to 2014.

Less than 24 hours ago, the Pelicans sent forward Wes Johnson to the Wizards for forward Markieff Morris.

New Orleans Also Receives Multiple Second-Round Draft Picks
February 7, 2019
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has acquired forward Stanley Johnson and center Jason Smith from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for forward Nikola Mirotić. In addition, New Orleans will receive four second-round draft picks (Denver – 2019; Milwaukee – 2020; Washington – 2020, 2021).

Johnson, 6-7, 245, who was acquired by Milwaukee from Detroit yesterday, has appeared in 48 games (seven starts) this season for the Pistons, averaging 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 20.0 minutes per game. Selected by Detroit with the 8th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Arizona, Johnson has appeared in 267 career games (64 starts), averaging 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals.

Smith, 7-0, 240, who was originally acquired by Milwaukee on Dec. 7, has appeared in 18 games this season with the Bucks and Washington Wizards, averaging 3.2 points and 2.7 rebounds. This will be Smith’s second tenure in New Orleans, as the Colorado State product appeared in 199 games with the franchise from 2010-14, averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game. Drafted 20th overall by Miami in the 2007 NBA Draft, Smith has appeared in 614 career regular season games (104 starts) while averaging 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds.

Mirotić, 6-10, 250, who was originally acquired by New Orleans on Feb. 1, 2018, has appeared in 62 games (33 starts) with the Pelicans, averaging 15.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 29.0 rebounds per game. Mirotić has appeared in 32 games this season, averaging 16.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Originally selected by Houston in the 2011 NBA Draft with the 23rd overall pick, the Montenegro native has appeared in 305 career regular season games with Chicago and New Orleans, (92 starts) with averages of 12.3 points 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

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