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Nikola Mirotic trade to Bucks is an absolute steal for Milwaukee

The Bucks traded a bunch of second-round picks, Stanley Johnson, and Jason Smith for a real upgrade.

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to a trade — but not for Anthony Davis.

Instead, the Pelicans have traded sharp-shooting forward Nikola Mirotic to the Milwaukee Bucks for Stanley Johnson and Jason Smith, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

It looks like this deal is now part of a larger three-team trade that also sent young center Thon Maker to the Pistons. New Orleans will also receive multiple second-round picks as part of the deal.

The Pelicans had made Mirotic available in discussions leading up to the Feb. 7 NBA Trade Deadline. He is a coveted stretch-four who will help space the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe and the surging Bucks, who have NBA championship aspirations.

This was a damn steal

Mirotic is averaging about 17 points and eight rebounds per game. He averages seven three-point attempts a night and makes 37 percent of them. Mirotic is an aggressive stretch-four. He’s scored 25 or more points six times this season, including a 36-point game against Sacramento.

The Bucks gave up Jason Smith, who has appeared in just six games, Johnson, a soon-to-be restricted free agent Milwaukee likely wasn’t going to re-sign, and several spare second-rounders to land one of the bigger fish on the trade market.

Mirotic has missed 18 games this season due to injury, including a right calf strain and an injured Achilles and an ankle injury. But he’s a player who projects to help Milwaukee make its deep playoff push.

Mirotic also becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning his $12.5 million salary comes off the books. The Bucks have many free agents to tend to this summer, including Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton. Stanley Johnson was entering restricted free agency and held a cap hit of $11.8 million this summer.