The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng in exchange for center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right for the Bulls to swap 2015 first-round draft picks with the Cavs (1-14 protected), according to the official team site for the Wine & Gold. Of the three future draft picks, Chicago will obtain Cleveland’s rights to the Sacramento Kings‘ first-round draft pick (protected for selections 1-12 in 2014 and 1-10 in 2015, 2016 and 2017) and the Portland Trail Blazers 2015 and 2016 second-round draft picks. If the Kings fall within the protected range in 2014-17, Sacramento will convey it’s 2017 second-round pick to the Bulls.
General Manager Chris Grant announced the decision for the Cavs to deal the center they acquired during the offseason early Tuesday morning, thus relieving the team from owing Bynum $6 million if they weren’t able to deal him after Jan. 7. After making the trade official, Grant had this to say about acquiring the two-time All-Star small forward:
We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organization. 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.
The news was first broke by RealGM reporter Shams Charania, who also touched on here that the Bulls were adamant in their decision on keeping Deng on the team for the remainder of the season:
Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and draft picks, league source tells RealGM.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 7, 2014
According to a league source that spoke with ESPNChicago.com, the Bulls will waive Bynum by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, saving the Bulls more than $15 million in salary and luxury taxes overall in the deal. After speaking with multiple teams–including the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers–regarding trading the troubled center, the Wine & Gold front office finally reached a deal to land a star small forward who will make the current group of starters a much stronger unit. After talks stalled with the Lakers regarding acquiring Pau Gasol and with the Jazz regarding obtaining Richard Jefferson, the Cavs finally struck a deal. Struggling with Alonzo Gee and Earl Clark at the starting three this season, head coach Mike Brown will now have a primed defender (2012 All-Defensive Second Team) in Deng on his roster. Deng was also an All-Star the past two seasons for the Bulls.
The Cavs will acquire Deng and his $14.3 million expiring contract, which means that the Cavs will only have the small forward for the remainder of the 2013-14 season, unless he resigns with Cleveland in the 2014 offseason. Deng has spent all of his previous nine seasons–and 23 games this season–with the Bulls after being selected seventh overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2004 NBA Draft. Deng was involved in a draft day that sent the Duke forward to Chicago for future draft picks.
Over his career, Deng has appeared in 637 games, starting 591 of them. He has averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals, while shooting 46.0 percent from the field, 33.1 percent from three and 77.3 percent from the free throw line. He was also been a high-usage three during his time with the Bulls, averaging 35.9 minutes over his career. Deng currently ranks ninth in the league in minutes per game this season, logging 37.4 MPG. In the 23 games he has played in this season, Luol has averaged a career-high 19.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, a career-high 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals, while shooting 45.2 percent from the field, 27.4 percent from three and 81.5 percent from the free throw line. Deng has also averaged a league-best in MPG during the 2012-13 campaign (38.7) and 2011-12 campaign (39.4). He has also put up with a nagging pain in his left Achilles as of late, keeping him on the sideline for the Bulls.
Here are some tweets regarding the trade for Deng:
#Cavs trade Bynum for Luol Deng. Story to follow
— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) January 7, 2014
Cavs deal Andrew Bynum, 3 future draft picks to Bulls for Luol Deng: http://t.co/1hdsxLbCxs
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 7, 2014
GM Gar Forman: “We have great respect for Luol Deng, as a player and a person.” http://t.co/y7qgGLZGyC
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 7, 2014
Luol Deng rejected a 3 year, $30 million extension with Bulls last week, league source tells Yahoo. Turned out to be prelude to trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 7, 2014
Welcome @LuolDeng9 to the Cleveland Cavaliers!
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) January 7, 2014
#Cavs will send Chicago a pair of 2nd round picks and a first-round pick previously acquired from Sacramento Kings
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) January 7, 2014
Bulls also get right to swap first round pick with #Cavs in 2015 draft, but it’s lottery protected. And the swap rights expire after 2015
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) January 7, 2014
Stay tuned to Right Down Euclid for future analysis on the acquisition of Deng and what it means for the Cavaliers moving forward.