The Nikola Mirotic buyout has been of huge concern to Bulls fans lately. But fear not, Bulls fans- the Mirotic buyout comes with an installment plan.
I mentioned a few days ago that international buyouts are extremely flexible and negotiable, and that I expected Real Madrid would negotiate the terms of the Mirotic buyout. This is huge news for Bulls fans, as the Mirotic buyout is no longer something they need to worry about this summer.
Mirotic Buyout Details
According to the European baskeball site tubasket.com, Real Madrid has chosen the latter of the two options:
Facilitaría la marcha que el Madrid aceptara un fraccionamiento de la alta cláusula, que no tuviera que pagarla toda de golpe.
For those of you who aren't fluent in Spanish, that statement says that Real Madrid agreed to accept a payment plan so that the Mirotic buyout won't be payable in one lump sum up front. You can paste the statement into the English/Spanish translator at spanishdict.com for three different translations (differing by Spanish dialect) and read it for yourself.
What This Means for the Bulls
This is huge news for Bulls fans, as getting Mirotic to Chicago this summer is a huge part of the organization's plan going forward. The Mirotic buyout is 2.5 million euros, or $3,385,250 at the current exchange rate. The Bulls can only contribute $600,000 to the Mirotic buyout, which means that Niko must pay the remaining $2,785,250 himself.
The Mirotic buyout being payable over time may help the Bulls bring him over without paying the Full Mid Level Exception of $5.305 million this summer. If the team winds up using the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer so they can create cap space, they will only have the Room Mid Level Exception of $2.732 million available. (Mirotic cannot sign the Room MLE, as I explain below)
In the unlikely event that they wind up doing a sign and trade for Carmelo Anthony and a regular trade for Kevin Love, their team payroll might be so high that they only have the Taxpayer's Mid Level Exception of $3.278 million available. Even that is just under $500,000 after the full Mirotic buyout, much less than he is already making in Europe.
The Taypayer's MLE would pay Mirotic $10,719,060 (7,910,161 Euros) over three years, which is an average of $3,573,020 per year (2,636,720 Euros per year). Assuming his portion of the buyout is payable over three years, his average NBA salary would be $2,644,603 (1,951,614 Euros). While this is theoretically possible, I doubt Mirotic would leave Real Madrid for that amount of money.
As I have mentioned previously, as long as the Mirotic buyout has a payment plan, he can afford to come to Chicago next season even at the Room MLE, because the Bulls can "overpay" him in years three and four to make the total of his 4-year salary even higher than with a 4-year contract that starts at the Full MLE:
He can sign for $2.732 million next season with a player option for 2015-16, which will guarantee him $2.855 million for 2015-16. It also allows him to (most likely) opt out so that the Bulls can give him the Full MLE of $5.464 million next summer. They can also include a player option for a second year of this contract, which would guarantee Mirotic $5.70988 for his third season (2016-17).
That would also allow him to opt out and resign in the summer of 2016 with his Early Bird Rights, which would allow the Bulls to pay him up to 175% of his 2nd year salary, or $9.562 million in his third season. Since Early Bird contracts must be at least two years in length, the maximum raise (7.5%) would pay him $10,279,150 in his fourth season.
Add it all up, and Niko could come over this summer for the Room MLE and still make $28,037,150 during his first four years in the NBA. The #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft will make a maximum of $21,970,923 over the first four years of his NBA career. I'll be shocked if he doesn't spend the 2014-15 season in a Chicago Bulls uniform.
(Edit 6/12/2014- Thanks to Nate Duncan of BasketballInsiders.com, who informed me that as a first-round pick signing for more than the rookie scale salary, Mirotic's first contract must be at least three years in length, so the above scenario isn't possible. The Room MLE can only be a two-year contract, so the Bulls will have to sign Mirotic with either the Full MLE, the Taxpayer's MLE, or cap space. Nate recently did an outstanding piece on the Mirotic buyout as well.)
If the Bulls sign Mirotic with the Full MLE, his 4-year deal would pay him $22,652,350 (16,716,552 Euros). After the Mirotic buyout is subtracted, the total salary would be $19,867,100 (14,667,370 Euros). That is probably more than he realistically can expect to earn with Real Madrid, as Fenerbahçe Ülker forward Linas Kleiza is currently the highest paid player in Europe with a salary of 3.5 million Euros ($4,739,350) in 2013-14.
If Mirotic signs the Full MLE for three years- which would allow him to resign a bigger contract a year earlier- his total salary would be $16,631,175 (12,272,435 Euros). After the Mirotic buyout is subtracted, that's a net of $13,845,925 (10,217,150 Euros). This is the most likely scenario, as it pays Mirotic nearly as much (~100,000 Euros per year less) as the highest paid player in Europe and gets him to his next NBA contract the quickest.
Andres Nocioni Speaks
In other Mirotic news, former Bull and current Laboral Kutxa forward Andres Nocioni- who played against Mirotic in the Spanish League this season- spoke to tubasket.com about Niko recently and had only good things to say about Mirotic and the Bulls organization:
"Lo veo perfecto, me encanta como juega. Es un jugador técnicamente muy completo. Es capaz de hacer todo", le elogia Nocioni. "En la NBA, jugadores tan versátiles como él caen muy bien. Obviamente dependerá de los sistemas del entrenador. Yo creo que encajaría al 100% en lo que es la filosofía de Chicago. Tiene que tomar la decisión. Yo le recomendaría irse a la NBA, porque puede pasar el tren y no agarrarlo. Europa va a estar siempre para él. Yo, personalmente, con la edad de él, me iría a la NBA".
"Chicago es una organización muy seria. Es una ciudad, un equipo bien armado, muy sólido que puede tener altibajos como cualquier equipo, pero su filosofía es muy seria. Se refleja con los resultados. Ahora no está Derrick Rose, su estrella, y se fue Luol Deng, y el equipo sigue compitiendo", destaca el argentino.
In case you don't want to plug the above into a translator, here's what El Chapu had to say:
Mirotic is a technically sound player, able to do everything. In the NBA, versatile players fare very well. Obviously it depends on the coach's system. I think he would fit 100% into the philosophy of Chicago. You have to make a decision. I would recommend going to the NBA, because you can pass the train and not grab it (If you don't do it while you can, the chance won't be there forever). Europe is always going to be there for him. I, personally, with his age, I would go away to the NBA.
Chicago is a very serious organization. It is a city, with a lot to offer, a very solid team that can take ups and downs as any team, but its philosophy is very serious. It is reflected in the results. Now Derrick Rose, its star, and Luol Deng aren't there, and the team keeps on competing.
A former Bull who has also spent many years in Europe speaking highly of the organization is obviously a plus for the Bulls. Nocioni's comments can only help the team's chances of getting Mirotic to Chicago this summer.
And if you have been worrying about the Mirotic buyout, you can now officially stop.