Luol Deng is now a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Chicago Bulls and Cavs hooked up on a late-night deal, which sends Andrew Bynum and three future draft picks to Chicago in return for the All-Star forward. The precise details of the deal, as currently reported, are below (via RealGM):
Cleveland Cavaliers acquire:
– Luol Deng (expiring this year, $14.275 million full-season salary)
Chicago Bulls acquire:
– Andrew Bynum (functionally no money since he will presumably be cut right away. If not, $6 million this year and $12 million next year if they elect to keep him)
– The right to swap picks in the 2015 draft if both teams make the playoffs and Chicago finishes with the better record
– Sacramento’s pick owed to Cleveland. According to our database, the pick is top-12 protected this season and top-10 for 2015-2017. If the pick falls in the top 10 each of those seasons, it becomes a 2017 second-round pick.
– Portland’s 2015 second round pick
– Portland’s 2016 second round pick
Bynum will almost certainly be cut by the Bulls in an attempt to save money and avoid the punitive luxury tax. The biggest part of the deal for the Bulls is the future first-round pick from Sacramento. Chicago will be rooting for the Kings to get better over the next couple of seasons, as that is the only way the pick actually remains a first-rounder. The Cavs also threw in two second-round picks which hold a little bit of value.
It’s not a terrible return for the Bulls. The team reportedly offered Deng a three-year extension worth $30 million and after the All-Star forward declined the offer he was basically no longer part of the team’s future plans. To get three future draft picks and save a lot of money by moving an expiring contract of a player who you no longer want to keep around is not a terrible deal. Still, it must be a little bittersweet to see Deng go for anyone involved with the Bulls, as he has been with the team for almost 10 seasons.
You also have to remember that the Bulls have been pretty mediocre without Derrick Rose and should bottom out and make the most of their own pick in the stacked 2014 draft. They are also waiting on the arrival of Nikola Mirotic, who is currently playing for Real Madrid in Spain. All in all, a pretty good deal for the Bulls.
As for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team gets an All-Star forward, who they will likely have to overpay to keep this summer. Deng’s presence might be enough to get the Cavs into the playoffs this year, although sitting with an 11-23 record the team has to make up for their sloppy play up until now. They are also opting to get better now, rather than aiming at a top prospect in the upcoming draft, which is also a little surprising. Either way, Deng is a good player and fills an important gap for the team, but the timing of the trade is a little curious.