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Luol Deng traded for Andrew Bynum
- Updated: January 8, 2014
“The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired All-Star forward Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Cavs (1-14 protected)”. With this statement from Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant, the Cavaliers said goodbye to the Andrew Bynum experiment and welcomed a potentially new era.
Needing to find a suitable trade partner or waive Bynum themselves to avoid paying his whole contract, the Cleveland Cavaliers explored a number of options. They spoke with the Los Angeles Lakers about moving Bynum for Pau Gasol but that hit a snag when it wasn’t a straight swap. So Cleveland picked up the phone and kept dealing. Eventually they found a team with a need to clear some cap space and who had a trade piece that was valuable and that the Cavs could use – Luol Deng.
While it is only a short term solution for the Cavs, it does place them in a much more enviable position. They have now gotten rid of the cancerous Andrew Bynum and they have secured, albeit for half a season guaranteed, the services of an All Star swingman who can work with superstars and play a role. Deng is an offensive threat and has also made the NBA All Defensive team. He comes with the strategic knowledge from coach Tom Thibodeau about rotations, structures and team defence and he will be a valuable asset to the young Cavs who struggle on both ends of the floor.
Deng has played behind star Derrick Rose and has never complained. He has shouldered the brunt of the load while injuries have decimated the Chicago Bulls and he was there through the Bulls darkest days. Deng is as seasoned and as resilient as they come. He will be asked – at least in the short term – to help bring the Cavs out of the Eastern Conference cellar and potentially into the playoff picture. He will again have the services of a first class point guard in Kyrie Irving to work with along with a talented but inexperienced frontcourt.
The end of an era in Chicago came about when Deng turned down a 3 year $30 million deal from the Bulls.He is a free agent at the end of this season and it was clear that he valued himself a little higher than the Bulls franchise did, so rather than losing Deng for nothing, the Bulls pulled the trigger on the trade that will allow some cap relief and also net them some future draft picks. In what seems to be the prelude to a blowup, this trade gives the Bulls more options down the track and may fast track the rebuild to coincide with The Return of Derrick Rose next season.
The Chicago Bulls will no doubt release Andrew Bynum without him playing a minute for the franchise. They will save over $15 million in the deal and get something in return for an impending free agent. Speculation mounts that the Bulls might also look to use their amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer and provide themselves with even more options next year. But that is a story for another day.
Cleveland now have to look at their own future. one that for the short term includes a terrific basketball player. The Cavs will be hoping that Deng can provide immediate support and start to feel at home straight away. They will also be hoping that he might feel so comfortable with where the franchise and team is heading that he will be willing to sign on for an extended period of time. Either way, they have been able to get something in return for a gamble that went horribly wrong. Not only was Bynum an off court menace, he gave them next to nothing on the floor either.
What does the future hold for both sides? Can the Bulls now start to move forward with a Rose-friendly rebuild? Will the Cavs make a run at the playoffs? Will Luol Deng sign a new contract with Cleveland?