|For the first time in his NBA career, Luol Deng won't be suiting up in a Bulls uniform|
A major NBA deal — this involving two former All-Stars — went down late Monday night, as the rare intra-division deal between the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers took place. Longtime Bull Luol Deng, who was traded to Chicago on draft day in 2004, was shipped to the Cavaliers in exchange for troubled center Andrew Bynum and a horde of assorted draft picks.
A recent Adrian Wojnarowski report mentioned how Deng rejected a contract extension offer from the Bulls a few weeks ago, a move which was the clear precursor to this deal in which Chicago gets the Kings' top-12 protected 2014 1st-rounder, the Blazers' 2015 and 2016 2nd-rounders, and the ability to swap 1st-rounders with Cleveland in 2015 (only if the pick falls in the 15-30 range).
Thus by dealing him to a division rival, Chicago — already without Derrick Rose for the rest of the season — essentially is calling their 2013-14 season a washout and clears a bunch of cap space in the process, as Bynum's hefty deal is likely to be waived soon.
Meanwhile, by acquiring the oft-injured yet extremely talented Duke product, the Cavaliers — and embattled general manager Chris Grant — give themselves a starting small forward who has scored around 16 points per game throughout his entire career. Dealing with a nagging injury to franchise point guard Kyrie Irving as well, MIke Brown's squad needed a scoring injection, which they certainly get with Deng, who is listed as 6-9 and can guard multiple positions on the floor as needed.
By the end of his Chicago tenure, especially with the team scuffling through this season, it was obvious that a change had to be made with the Bulls' roster, and Deng was the first guy to go.
It is just strange to see such a vital and longlasting piece on a successful team — like Deng on the Bulls — traded away so unceremoniously for nothing more than salary relief and some lower, protected picks.