Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and draft picks, a league source told RealGM.
Deng had been in constant trade speculation, and the Bulls were adamant they wouldn’t deal the two-time NBA All-Star in a salary dump. Nevertheless, the non-guaranteed portion of Bynum’s salary – saving the Bulls upwards of $15 million – had become appealing late in the Cavaliers’ quest to unload the championship center.
The Cavaliers announced that they’ve sent the Bulls three future NBA draft choices and the right to the first round pick in 2015, top 14 protected.
"We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organization, " Chris Grant said in a statement. "We have worked to acquire and maintain flexibility in order to capitalize on opportunities such as this. Luol reflects all that we are striving for in building our team. He’s a tremendous defensive player that can impact the game on both ends of the court with a team first mentality and is a high character leader.”
For the Cavaliers, Deng brings consistency, leadership and stability to a lackluster wing position, and he’s privately and publicly raved about Kyrie Irving in recent seasons. A free agent in the offseason, Deng has positioned himself as an elite target for organizations. He’s averaging 19 points and nearly seven rebounds this season, playing through nagging injuries.
Bynum will be released by the Bulls and is expected to receive a bevy of interest despite his falling out with the Cavaliers.
With averages of 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds, Bynum was eased into Cleveland’s scoring distribution this season and suffered lingering knee pain in his comeback attempt. As Bynum told RealGM a week into the season, “I don’t think the pain will decrease. It’s just where I’m at. For my conditioning, the more I play, the better I’ll get conditioning wise.”