If he comes over in 2014-15, he'd still be restricted as a FA for his first three years regardless of the contract he signed. It also seems likely the Bulls would not agree to a one year deal with him and would force him into a 3/10 type of deal in order to lock him in cheap for three years and have him restricted afterwards. Of course, it will depend how well he plays in Europe over that time period.
It's almost impossible for me to believe he comes over next season and at any point where his buyout is so high. If his buyout is 2 million, he'd need to pay 1.5 million himself, and that's more than his entire salary once you factor in taxes (though perhaps he can claim the buyout as an expense and then he would owe nothing in taxes making it basically his full salary). Still, I don't see that working out.
Granted, it's possible that he may be able to negotiate a better buyout from his team in order to make things easier, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
I think we're in general agreement. Although, I want to note that even though Mirotic would be a RFA for his first three years, if he waited until 2014-2015 to join the NBA, he could enter a long term deal with a substantial overall guaranteed dollar amount after his first season. Mirotic could sign a deal beginning at the MLE theoretically in his second season, and that agreement could balloon, consistent with the Arenas scale, to huge numbers after the first two years of the deal. I have to imagine that players can obtain financing and borrow against the life of their long term deals, so I don't see why a player would view an arenas scale balloon agreement as substantially different than a non-Arenas scale agreement with smaller raises.
I also agree that the Bulls' position allows them some leverage, and that the franchise is unlikely to sign Mirotic to a one year deal. But I don't think this is a purely theoretical debate. Part of our worry seems to be that Mirotic won't come over because the CBA too greatly limits his ability to make up his buyout figure and that doesn't seem accurate. Other options are available, and just because teams haven't signed non-rookie scale first year players to one year contracts -- outside of second round picks with perceived limited ceilings-- doesn't mean that it won't and shouldn't happen in the future.
I do see a possibility of Mirotic coming over next season, though. His buyout, according to KC, is 2M Euros, or about $2.6M (the foreign press is consistently reporting a 5M Euro buyout) but, as you mentioned, he can always negotiate a smaller figure. Real Madrid's power forward lineup has been a source of contention all season. Begic has been great at center for Real Madrid and is a bruiser, but Tomic, the team's other center, has been wildly erratic and looks too soft for Euroleague play. It would be easy to say that Real Madrid should ship Tomic, and I've read some people in the media make that argument, but he has a great report with Real Madrid's point guard Sergio Llull -- who has also been erratic all season and is signed through 2013-14.
The best option, if money didn't matter, would be to dump Tomic, dump Llull, and sign another center who can guard the rim. The franchise could rely on interior defense and offense from Rudy Fernandez, who is a done deal for next season. But that's never going to happen for financial reasons.
The easier semi-answer for fixing Real Madrid's roster appears to be to bring in a bruising power forward to play alongside Tomic, and then keeping Llull -- which is why I'm not surprised that we've heard such consistent chatter about the franchise signing Marcus Slaughter.
Singing Slaughter just creates additional roster turmoil though. Reyes, Real Madrid's team captain and face of the franchise, isn't going anywhere and demands minutes as a backup. The weakest part of his game is guarding the rim.
If Real Madrid wants to keep Llull and Tomic, and is going to sign Slaughter, then the only solution, since Reyes isn't going anywhere, is to option Velichkovic to another franchise or let Mirotic sign in the NBA. Letting Mirotic go to the NBA is the cheaper solution. And does the franchise really want to keep him if he wants to play in the NBA? Mirotic's NBA aspirations have seemed to me from the outside to have created tension with the franchise this season, and by not letting him leave this off season they would be essentially committing to him for at least another two seasons. That's not a great recipe for success.
I still think it's more likely than not that Real Madrid options Velichkovic to another franchise and keeps Mirotic but I think there is a real possibility that they elect to do otherwise.
One last comment: don't sleep on former Rising Star winner Erazem Lorbek's NBA prospects. The Spurs acquired him in the George Hill-Kawhi Leonard trade. He isn't quick as compared to NBA power forwards but he's long and is a very skilled and composed player. I wouldn't be shocked if the Spurs brought Lorbek over and he had a decent NBA career.