On Monday morning, I wrote that the idea of the Chicago Bulls trading small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Byum made no sense. Furthermore, I downplayed the idea that the Bulls would actually pull off a trade with the Cavaliers.
Imagine my surprise when I looked at my phone during the middle of the night on Monday and saw the breaking news alert.
The breaking news being that the Bulls traded Deng to the Cavaliers for center Andrew Bynum and three future draft picks.
After being skeptical about a possible trade on Monday, I’m actually a fan of the deal made by Bulls general manager Gar Forman.
Lets first talk about the Bynum part of the trade. Bynum is not going to play a single game for the Bulls. The Bulls will waive Bynum on Tuesday before the second-half of his contract becomes guaranteed. The move will clear Bynum’s $12.3 million salary off the team’s books which will allow the team to get below the luxury tax threshold.Combined with the money saved from waiving Bynum on Tuesday and the money saved from the Bulls not having to pay the remaining owed to Deng as part of his $14.3 million salary this season, the team will have saved more than $20 million.
Beyond the $2o million saved from the trade, the Bulls also acquired the rights to three future draft picks. In the trade, the Bulls acquired a future first round draft pick that the Cavaliers owned from the Sacramento Kings; and two second round draft picks in 2015 and 2016. The first round draft pick that the Bulls essentially acquired from the Kings on Monday is top-12 protected. Furthermore, the first round draft pick is top-10 protected in 2015, 2016, and 2017. In addition, the Bulls will also have the opportunity to swap draft positions with the Cavaliers in 2015 if the Cavaliers’ pick is not among the top-14.
The Bulls are now set up to be in a prime position in terms of their future. In addition to the three picks acquired by the team on Monday, the Bulls also own the rights to a future first round draft pick of the Charlotte Bobcats as well as star Euroleague forward Nikola Mirotic.
Deng will be missed. There’s is no understating the value that Deng has had for the Bulls. Deng’s stats won’t necessary “wow” people, but the forward has been one of most dependable players in the NBA during his first 9 years in the NBA. But the fact of the matter is that with the trade the Bulls made on Monday, the team is set up in better position for the long-term.
“We have great respect for Luol Deng as a player and a person,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “The moves made today will put us in a better position to make the entire roster stronger for the future and to compete for a championship.”-Gar Forman, ESPN Chicago
Credit the Bulls front office for not only making a trade that makes sense, but making a trade that puts the team in a favorable position in the off-season in terms having flexibility to improve the roster.