It turns out the deal that sent Thon Maker to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday had more to it. In the deal, Detroit sent 22-year-old forward Stanley Johnson to the Bucks, but Milwaukee turned out to be just a resting spot for Johnson. Today, the deal turned into a three team deal with the New Orleans Pelicans a part of the equation as well.
Johnson was sent to New Orleans, along with Bucks center Jason Smith and four second-round picks for 6’10 sharpshooting big man Nikola Mirotic. The deal couldn’t be finished until today (Thursday) because Smith couldn’t be traded until then by NBA trade rules.
Mirotic will be a free agent at the end of the season, which means this may be his only year in Milwaukee, but it gives the Bucks a player that they can use to make a strong push for a NBA title.
The Bucks also had to keep up with both Toronto and Philadelphia, with both teams making deals to make a title push. The 76ers sent three players, two first-round picks and two second-round picks to the Los Angeles Clippers for a package that featured Tobias Harris. The Raptors followed suit on Thursday by acquiring center Marc Gasol from Memphis for a package of three players and a future second-round pick.
Mirotic is averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Pelicans this season, shooting 36.8 percent from three-point range.