Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Cavs and Bulls Swap Deng For Bynum

The Chicago Bulls have agreed to trade veteran small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the right to wave center Andrew Bynum, along with three future picks. The move comes just days after Deng balked at a three year, $30 million extension with Chicago. The two time All Star is averaging a career high 19 ppg and 3.7 apg in 23 games this season. 

The deal materialized quickly, but makes sense for both teams. Cleveland's free agent gamble on the oft-injured seven footer did not pay off as they had hoped, but his cap-friendly contract allowed them to make a play for one of the league's best forwards. At 11-23, the Cavs have drastically underachieved this season, but with four top four draft picks in the past three seasons, the time was right to bring in some veteran leadership. It also helps that the draft picks they gave up will more than likely never come back to haunt them. 

The first round pick headed to Chicago comes from the Sacramento Kings via the Omar Casspi trade, but is lottery protected in 2014 and top ten protected each year from 2015-2017. If the Kings pick falls within the top ten in each of the next four years Chicago will receive Sacramento's 2017 second rounder. The Bulls will also get the Blazers 2015 and 2016 second round picks as a result of the J.J. Hickson trade. 

The Bulls will also have the option of swapping first round picks with the Cavs in 2015, provided that Cleveland's pick lands somewhere between 15 and 30. 

Chicago on other hand is headed in the opposite direction. With their best player, Derrick Rose, sidelined for a third straight season, it is in their best interest to avoid the luxury tax while bottoming out in hopes of landing one of the many potential franchise guys in the 2014 draft. Barring a trade before February's deadline, you can expect the Bulls to use their amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer this summer, saving the team $16.8 million for next year. With Deng out of the picture and Boozer likely to follow suit, Chicago would have more than enough money to offer a max contract to Carmelo Anthony, or any of the Heat's big three, provided they opt-out of their current deals. Anthony has already made his intentions perfectly clear that he would like to hit the free agent market during the summer of 2014.

The Bulls will most certainly cut Bynum on Tuesday, nullifying the second half of his $12 million contract for this season. It has been widely reported that there is mutual interest between Bynum and both the Clippers and Heat. He is expected to join one of those two teams shortly.

Deng finishes up his tenure in Chicago as the fourth leading scorer in team history, trailing only Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin and Bob Love. 
-fresh (@danye33)

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