Shortly after the conclusion of college football's NCAA Title game last night, the NBA stole the spotlight when a trade was announced between the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Bulls sent Luol Deng to the Cavaliers in exchange for three draft picks and the shell of Andrew Bynum. The Bulls have already waived the rotting carcass of what used to be an NBA center:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>As expected, the Bulls just finalized the paperwork waiving Andrew Bynum, acquired in last night's Luol Deng trade, league source says.</p>— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/KBergCBS/statuses/420648526205288448">January 7, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
So really, the Bulls traded Deng for picks and cap space, allowing them to have many more options and more flexibility in the coming off-season, while still getting assets in return for Deng's expiring contract. The Bulls attempted to re-sign Deng, offering him a three-year, $30 million dollar deal that he reportedly turned down.
The transaction also sends the message that the Bulls are moving past the core of Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose, realizing that this team with that core won't win Chicago a championship anytime soon. Instead, the Bulls are looking to rebuild around Rose when he returns and already have plans for Boozer as the NY Daily News reported that the team plans to amnesty him. For Noah, it's still unclear if the team plans to keep him aboard or trade him for more assets.
The treasure chest of assets that the Bulls acquired from the Cavaliers include:
"...Bynum, Cleveland's right to the Sacramento King's first round draft pick conveyed in a June 30, 2011 deal, the right for Chicago to swap its own 2015 first round draft pick with the Cavs own 2015 first round draft pick (only in the case that the Cleveland 2015 first round draft pick is between 15 and 30) and the Portland Trail Blazer's 2015 and 2016 second round draft picks acquired from the Trail Blazers via a 2013 draft night trade." - via the Cavaliers official press release
In simpler terms, the Bulls acquired two second round picks (2015 & 2016), a protected first round pick, and the right to swap picks with Cleveland in 2015.
The protected first round pick comes from the trade that sent J.J. Hickson to the Sacremento Kings in 2011 (man, that was a bad trade for the Kings). Here are the details of that protected pick, via Real GM
Sacramento's 1st round pick to Chicago via Cleveland protected for selections 1-12 in 2014, 1-10 in 2015, 1-10 in 2016 or 1-10 in 2017; if Sacramento has not conveyed a 1st round pick to Chicago via Cleveland by 2017, then Sacramento will instead convey its 2017 2nd round pick to Chicago via Cleveland protected for selections 56-60 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Sacramento's obligation to Chicago via Cleveland will be extinguished) [Cleveland-Sacramento, 6/30/2011 and then Chicago-Cleveland, 1/7/2013]
While all signs of this trade point to rebuilding for the Bulls, what does it mean for the Cavaliers?
It means that Dan Gilbert, Chris Grant, and the rest of the Cavs' brainpower have realized that the Eastern Conference is beyond horrific and although they currently sit near the bottom of the standings, there is still plenty of time to turn that around, and a guy like Deng can only help.
Deng is a big upgrade at the SF position on both ends of the floor, something the Cavs needed desperately. Earl Clark is not a SF, and Alonzo Gee is, well, not a starter in the NBA. Oh, and here's a stat:
Deng's 17.4 PER is 1.4 points higher than the combined PER of Clark AND Gee.
Key words: HIGHER, COMBINED.
Deng is also averaging 19.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 45% shooting in 37.4 minutes per game this season, which is pretty damn good. He leaves the Bulls as the 4th all-time scorer, as well, behind Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Bob Love.
So what does Deng bring to the Cavs? Everything, basically. The guy can score when needed, he can defend multiple positions at a high level (allowing the Cavs to hide Kyrie Irving on defense even more), he's a great locker room guy, a professional, and a 9-year veteran.
Deng is an upgrade for the Cavaliers across the board and if the Cavs go on a run and make the playoffs it will be because Chris Grant pulled the trigger on trading for Luol Deng.
Oh, and the Deng trade also rids the Cavaliers of Andrew "Cookie Crumb Knees" Bynum, who will be a free agent very soon. Where will Bynum end up? Miami? LA? OKC? Or perhaps the Burger King drive thru?
Grading the trades:
Bulls: A+; Cavaliers: B-
For the Bulls this was all about gathering assets and saving money, and they did just that. Deng and Bynum are both off the books and the Bulls acquired three draft picks. Mission accomplished.
The Cavaliers got a big upgrade at the SF position by adding the former all-star, but they gave up three draft picks for a guy whose deal is expiring. There is no guarantee that Deng is in Cleveland past the end of the season, and with free agency looming for a guy like LeBron James, the Cavs may not want to re-sign Deng, meaning they gave up those assets for a half-a-season rental. Still, they got rid of Andrew Bynum and have a better chance of making the playoffs this year.
IN OTHER NEWS...
The Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Memphis Grizzlies completed a three-team deal sending point guard Jerryd Bayless to the Celtics. The C's sent Courtney Lee to the Grizzlies along with a second round pick, while the Grizzlies sent two conditional second round picks to OKC. To make the money work, OKC sent Ryan Gomes to the Celtics, whom the Celtics immediately waived.
The trade allows the Celtics cap room for next season by getting Lee's contract off the books, but Bayless' style of play might be a better fit in head coach Brad Stevens' system anyway. The Grizzlies add a shooter and the Thunder gathered a few draft picks for helping facilitate the trade.
Rumors say that Brandon Bass could be next to depart from Boston.
The Clippers are also in the news today. Reports say that they are interested in signing Hedo Turkoglu or Sasha Vujacic. Thing is, the Clippers would have to free up a roster spot to do so, and they already have, releasing Stephen Jackson today. Since Jackson's release the Clippers signed Maalik Wayans and Darius Morris to 10-day contracts, so it looks like the Clippers will try these pair of guards out before making any further moves.
Feel free to use the comment section to share your thoughts about the recent moves and use it as an open thread for all NBA, basketball, Seattle, and Supersonics news and topics.