Chicago Bulls and Cavaliers talked Bynum for Deng will one side flinch?

Chicago Bulls and Cavaliers talked Bynum for Deng will one side flinch?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to part ways with Andrew Bynum whose contract can be waived to save someone six million dollars. The Bulls, presumably, would like to get under the luxury tax this season to avoid potential future repeater penalties as well as to save some serious cash in a year that has no chance of ending with a parade.

K.C. Johnson notes that the Bulls aren't going to do a swap of Deng for Bynum, but reading between the lines, it's easy to see there's a deal to be made.

Last season, at least two teams inquired about absorbing Richard Hamilton into their salary-cap space near the trade deadline, but both also asked for a first-round pick to take the veteran guard off the Bulls' books.

The salary dump could have dropped the Bulls below last season's luxury tax threshold. But sources indicated at the time the Bulls refused to entertain those offers, with Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf signing off on the tax payment to keep the first-round pick.

As previously reported, the Bulls hope to re-sign Deng this summer in free agency. Also as previously reported, though the Bulls aren't seeking to trade Deng, if a team offered a rotation player and first-round pick in advance of February's trade deadline, they would consider such an offer.

There is no interest in trading Deng as a salary dump.

So there it is. The Bulls aren't going to salary dump Luol Deng. That's understandable. However, they're certainly willing to trade Deng if they only need a rotation player and a pick. The popularly talked about deal of Waiters + #1 for Deng certainly looks like something the Bulls would do if given the opportunity.

It's clear Cleveland's not amped up to give up that much value, but Bynum + #1 which I've recommended meets in the middle of where the teams presumably are right now (Cleveland willing to trade just salary relief and the Bulls wanting real assets back).

It also feels like these types of discussions about the Bulls wanting to keep Deng this off-season are simply there to help keep a strong negotiating hand. Now Cleveland fans will argue that they can just bid on Deng next season and not have to give up an asset to get him.

This is true, but it's also true that they may have to pay significantly more for him next season with the Bulls in the running to sign him. He'd presumably much rather be in Chicago than Cleveland, and if the Bulls trade him now, they would be out of the bidding war next off-season. Maybe that's not worth giving a #1 for, but with the right protection, that pick doesn't project to be all that high.

The Bulls should agree to lotto protection this season and perhaps top 10 protection next season in order to score the pick, and the Cavaliers don't really have room to add another non lotto pick to the roster given the over abundance of youth and lack of veterans.

The deal isn't a slam dunk for either side, but I don't know that either team is going to do better.

The next best option for the Bulls is the surprising Phoenix Suns. The Suns are in playoff contention in the West, are actively looking to trade a pick for a quality player, and may or may not have room to pursue Deng in the off season because of Eric Bledsoe's salary cap hold.

The Suns are under the cap, but depending what cap holds they land for draft picks, which guys they renounce, and whether they can agree to terms with Bledsoe (and what those terms are), the Suns might have anywhere from 10-15 million or so in cap room left over. It's an amount that may or may not leave them room to bid on Deng depending on the particulars.

In that sense, they have some incentive to trade for him now. On top of that, the Suns are already positioned for a playoff run in the West, so they have an immediate need for a player like Deng and have the assets to spare to acquire him. They even have a matching salary in Emeka Okafor.

It's a trade that makes plenty of sense for both sides if the Cleveland deal can't be made. The Bulls won't save on the tax with this move and probably won't score quite as high a selection, but they may be able to wriggle two later 1sts from Phoenix then trade them off for future picks later to stack the team with resources for future trades.

Either way, the Bulls may be saying they want to move Deng, but my hope is that they're really simply trying to get a bidding war on the player going so that they can improve their offer. While the Bulls reportedly want to resign Deng, they reportedly wanted to resign Ben Gordon and didn't even meet with him in the off-season.

They reported were going to keep Asik at any cost, but then decided not to. The Deng situation isn't like Gordon in the sense that everyone knew the Bulls didn't really want to bring Ben back, however, like Asik, it's easy to see where the Bulls like Deng, want him back, but simply can't afford him.


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  • The trade with Phoenix makes a lot of sense for the Suns.

    1) If they get Deng, they are immediately better. As an up-and-coming team, they can better attract FAs.

    2) Deng would like the Suns, so they would have the inside track to resign him.

    3) The Suns can't use all their picks anyway, because a team can only develop so many young players at a time.

    This trade also benefits the Bulls:

    1) If the Bulls got 2 later 1st rounders from Phoenix for Deng, they would, if the Charlotte pick lands, have 4 1st round picks to do some dealing. Doubtless they would try to move up in the draft. If not, they should get a BPA, plus a SG, plus a decent backup C.

    2) Without Deng, expect the Bulls to lose more games, thus moving up in the draft, to anywhere from 3rd to 7th or so. This would also improve their 2nd round pick. This trade gives a lot of possibilities.

  • I'll believe it when I see it in regards to the bulls moving Lol Deng or participating in any major trade

  • In reply to cashofb:

    Me too, seeing is believing. Still, a trade does make sense, provided the Bulls get something for Deng, and not just a salary dump.

    I feel that some team is going to offer something of value for him before the trade deadline. Then it will be up to the FO to say Yes or No.

    The trade to Cleveland makes sense for them because they would then have the inside track to resign Deng, plus it would make the return to Cleveland slightly more appealing to LeBron, slim chance tho that may be.

  • In reply to cashofb:

    Agree. In my opinion, the Bulls should have either extended him or traded him in the off season. Now, their leverage is diminished because they are playing chicken with other teams to see if some other team is willing to offer something of value instead of a salary dump. This is somewhat of a replay of what they have done in the past where they lost players for nothing. Conversely, an effective organization like OKC was able to get assets for a player via trade
    (Harden) when they knew they could not afford him.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    They got something, but not much. Harden is a top 10 NBA talent given his current ability plus he's just under 25.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Not much? OKC got Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first round picks, and one second round pick. I agree that Harden is a stud and Houston got the better of the deal. But considering OKC couldn't resign Harden I think they did quite well. Who did the Bulls get for Omer? For Ben Gordon? What will they get for Deng?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    And people accuse the front office of overvaluing their players. It's the fans who seem to think that teams are dying to give up a king's ransom for average players.

    What did Ben Gordon do after leaving Chicago? The Pistons had to throw in a lottery pick just to get out of one year of the ridiculous contract they gave him. Houston can't even trade Asik, and it's blatantly obvious to the entire world that they are trying.

    What did the Lakers get for Howard? What did the Hawks get for Smith?

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    They were trying to win a championship this year and their best chance to do so was with Deng. You would have traded that chance away?

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yes. OKC also wanted to win a championship and yet they still traded Harden when they knew they couldn't sign him.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    The difference being OKC had an abundance of offensive minded players and could theoretically replace the offensive production by Harden pretty easily (which they did between their own players and the incoming Kevin Martin). The Bulls would have had a much harder time replacing Deng's leadership, intangibles, and scoring than OKC had with the loss of Harden IMO.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    For the record, this is a response assuming Rose came back at full strength and did not get injured again. The Bulls needed Deng more for a deep playoff run than OKC did Harden.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    That in and of itself is the ultimate condemnation of Deng and the Bulls.

  • I would send Deng and the Bulls' 2nd round pick to Cleveland for Bynum and either Waiters or their 1st round pick.

    If the Cavs want their 1st round pick protected in 2014, OK, but if the Cavs exercise that protection, then the Bulls get Waiters and the pick moves to 2015.

  • If you guys think the Bulls FO makes some terrible decisions, try being a Bears fan right now. Watching 7 more years of Cutler is going to be painful. Talk about being stuck in mediocrity...

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Cutler is the Bulls version of Deng, you damned if you do(sign him) and damned if you don't, plus it looks like Cutler is going to make franchise QB money, even more than Deng will make.

  • It's just comical that so many people think Deng is overpaid and won't be worth the next contract he signs, while talking about why teams should be so anxious to trade for him.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Don - most do not believe that Deng is worth all that much. Getting a mid-to-late round first is not like the Bulls are demanding the world back here considering he's a pretty solid SF in this league.

    You know that this summer Deng is going to demand $14 mil and settle on $12-13 mil because there will mostly likely be other offers. And, you have Butler.

    That is why you dump him for just about anything - even a protected pick. Which isn't much...

  • In reply to Granby:

    And you also send the message to the rest of the roster that they suck, and aren't deserving of being given a chance to compete this year.

    Deng will have much more value if he's resigned and then traded, like what the Nuggets did with Nene.

    But so many Bulls fans are just completely living in fantasy land, as they just refuse to understand that 99% of NBA contracts expire. How often does a guy on an expiring deal get traded? Rarely.

    Yet Bulls fans seem to be the only ones bitching and moaning about "assets leaving for nothing". NO, those assets are replaced by draft picks or other free agents. It happens to every team in every sport everywhere.

    You can only have 15 players on a roster, if Bulls fans had their way we'd have a 75 man roster, because any expiring contract would be traded for another player and draft picks.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    The rest of the roster does suck, and does not deserve a chance to compete this year.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The rest of the roster doesn't suck. Noah is an All-Star, All-Defense center. Dunleavy is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league. Butler is coming around very nicely, and I really like what Snell has shown so far.

    They don't suck any worse than any other team minus it's top 2 players. And many of them have a future here.

    They made it to the 2nd round last season without Rose and Deng, they can do the same this year. And playoff experience is very important, that's why it takes teams so many years of being together to be an outstanding playoff team.

    It's amazing to me how quickly people have gone from not wanting to waste Rose's prime to wanting to start over from scratch.

    This team will gel and come together, and I have no doubt they will finish right around .500 and have home-court for a first-round playoff series.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I think they realize that it's a business. The only reason they have a shot to make the playoffs and get to the second round is because the East sucks balls.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    In theory I actually agree with your notion of signing Deng(which you do in order to not lose him for nothing, by the way) and then trading him. However, in practice, if Deng gets what he is looking for, he will become virtually untradeable the moment he signs his contract, just like he was 5-6 years ago.

  • First of all this RIDICULOUS add they have on this page "League of Angels" with the girls tits bouncing close-up and then her bending over and pulling off her jeans in her bent over panties?! At least give me a pause button so I can stop it. And of course it's lined up right where you post comments so you can't avoid it. That's all we need is gateway allusions to porn on a sports blog. I don't care if they show racy pics of girls in bikinis etc. but bending over and pulling off their pants in their panties over and over endless loop porn lite? Pathetic.

    OK, beyond my old man Smither's morality rant, would I be shocked if another NBA franchise in a major market could trade Deng and get a first rounder? Nope. Even though he's shooting 27% from three he's still putting up 19ppg on 45% shooting. With his expiring there might have to be other concessions or moving parts but still probably doable.And of course would tank us to possible top what 7 or 8?

    That said with Gar/Pax aka Ma and Pa Ketlle, I'd be shocked if they traded Deng let alone got a first rounder in this years loaded draft. If they did trade Deng at best they'd probably get some three to five years down the road first.

    As for Bears signing Cutler long term, it's typical Chicago(other then the Blackhawks who right now are the anti-Chicago). Looking up all the recent Super Bowl winning Q.B's Cutler's T.D. to interception ratio is pathetic or sub par to say the least in comparison with virtually every Q.B. I checked who all had multiple 2 to 1 seasons and some 3 to 1 supreme seasons. Plus Cutler is a walking injury, along with perpetual whiner and in game negative presence to boot. Absolute sinking your franchise chance of winning a championship move. Way to go Emery you feel good, overly indulging media Pollyannish twit.

  • I am keeping my fingers crossed but I am extremely doubtful the Bulls FO pulls off a Deng trade. Another first rounder would be nice ammo for moving up in the draft plus we will likely be picking slightly lower without Deng on the team the rest of the year. Win win for a team that would be wise to not resign him anyway.

    I would probably rather have Waiters than a protected first if Cleveland is thinking of moving him. I think he would be a good fit for our offense.

    Plus it would get some of those GarPax haters to shut up for awhile. Yes, that would be me included...

  • I really don't think the Cavaliers will add a first round pick to any Bynum-Deng deal. If they do, it a no-brainer to take it.

    Doug, on another note, any additional thoughts on the Ron Adams saga, now that he's back in town with the Celtics? There's an interesting KC Johnson article in the Tribune today. I do think that the loss of Adams has contributed in part to the Bulls's shooting woes. We'll never know what transpired, but it's a bad move to get rid of such an accomplished, dedicated coach.

    Turns out, Adams is now working with Rondo on his shot.
    Who exactly is working with our players on shooting? Adrian Griffin? SMH.

    Finally, if you get a chance, could you update your Bulls Tweets tab? I always click on it when I visit your site, but I'm seeing too many Bellinelli tweets! Thanks!

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    In reply to BullsC4:

    Adrian Griffin is, IMHO, poison. Remember, he was in with Wallace when they voted to suspend Noah for an extra game. Remember that episode? Griffin is a smooth talkin' jive-ass who needs to go. But, hey, we get rid of the better basketball man. Griffin is probably very good at kissing ass.

  • In reply to BullsC4:

    Thats what Doug meant by who will blink first. Will the Cavs add the required extra asset to dump Bynum, or would the Bulls take nothing just to salary dump Deng. I have no doubt that the Bulls will not blink on this one. I have some doubt that even if they got the extra asset, they might just delude themselves into thinking that it still wasn't worth doing.

  • Deng is in the downward arc of his career. So why pay him more?

  • I've liked the Phoenix deal for a while and have commented on it different times.The Cleveland trade just doesn't make sense to me. I can't see the Cavs giving up a first round pick when they need all the help they can get. Maybe a deal gets done with a protected pick, but I still think it would be a mistake for them. Deng would make them better, but only enough to possibly sneak into the playoffs. Deng would never resign because I believe him when he says he wants to be on a winning team. If a deal does happen, I guess I'd be happy with it (even though I am a Deng fan) but I don't expect it.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:


    These are not real Bull's fans--they want to start the team over from scratch. They want to give Deng away for next to nothing, Noah next--and call the rest of the team a farm team for the whole league. Just review what they have each said--it like they have draft super star disease. The don't recognize all the 1st round draft picks that never came close to superstar status each year. These people here are pie in the sky fans and haters at the same time. Go Bulls without them!.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    So, in your basketball world "real fan" means naive... Can you see the difference between James and Bennett. Both were #1 draft pick but it is absolutly different story. Next draft will be exceptionally strong and that is why a lot of Bull's fans want tank. They know that team in current shape is finished and Rose could be never back to old form, so tank is the simple way for construction of something new. You are thinking that current Bulls team, still can compete for title. Who is pie in the sky fan ???

  • In reply to jaet:

    Most tankers just don't understand simple math.

    They think the Bulls can tank and get a superstar, but the odds are overwhelming that they won't get a superstar.

    If the Bulls finish with the 3rd worst record- which would be almost impossible to do- they have a better chance of drafting 4th or 5th than in the top 3.

    Even if they finish with the worst record in the league, they have a 36% chance of picking 4th. The 2nd worst record gives you a 44% chance of picking 4th or 5th.

    The Bulls almost certainly won't get a superstar by tanking. Even if they draft a future All-Star, he won't be one for at least 2-3 years because all the so-called studs are freshmen. I can't blame the Bulls for wanting to keep an actual NBA All-Star and All-Defense player in Deng instead of hoping to get lucky.

    For some reason, people think trading Deng will mean an automatic tank. NO. The Bulls are 9-13 when Deng plays this season, 4-5 when he doesn't.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    So are you suggesting that Deng actually helps us tank?

    Speaking of simple math, most of us do get it, you can't win the lottery unless you actually buy a ticket for it, it couldn't be an y simpler than that.

    After 10 years of watching Deng(2 time fake all star not with standing), the vast majority of Bulls fans realize that he isn't the guy to bring you a championship and don't want to sign up for 4 more years(declining years at that) of the same old same old. Deng certainly isn't getting any better over the next 4 years, especially since he peaked in his 3rd season , 6 years ago.

    Sooner or later you have to buy that ticket, in the Bulls case they missed out on sooner, so now is later.

    As for the draft odds, this draft seems like it will go 5-10 deep at least, so the odds of getting a Deng or better player are pretty good if you just miss the playoffs in the east. Just as an example, if you put the deal on the table today, I'd trade Deng for Dario Saric and forgo the draft in a heartbeat. Saric probably goes 6-10. Or would you trade Deng for a player that would be the next Noah, picked 9th in a less than stellar draft. Again, in a heartbeat.

    Indeed, pretty simple stuff, if your open minded and don't have a contrarian agenda to defend at all costs, in a vain attempt to prove that your smarter than everyone else.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Most here want to trade Deng because he will be way overpayed by someone and we don't want it to be the Bulls. Makes sense to get something for someone who won't be on the team. I would be cool with keeping Deng at a reasonable contract of 7-8 million but some fool is going to go 12+ and that is stupid money for his age and declining skill set.

  • In reply to Chad:

    To say $7-8 million is "reasonable" for a two time All-Star is a joke, no offense.

    Deng at $12 million is guaranteed to be a Bull going forward.

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    Would love to see some kind of deal, but judging from the past few years, I bet nothing will be done. Deng will walk, or we will re-sign him for too much money. I don't think this team will win a championship with Deng. Noah, Butler, Dunleavy...then? Rose maybe. If he can. Snell? We have a tough situation ahead.

  • In reply to Gore Vidal:

    If Rose doesn't return to form- which I see no reason why he won't- the Bulls are screwed either way.

    They are stuck with him for 3 more seasons at $20 million per year.

    And you left out the best player in the world who isn't currently in the NBA, he should be a Bull next season as well. You would think that with young guys like Pekovic (18/9), Vucevic (13/11 at age 23), and Valanciunas (11/8 at age 21) playing so well in the league that people would be over their Euro bias.

    They'll figure it out sooner or later, though.

  • In reply to Gore Vidal:

    But I agree that based on the past few years, Deng won't get traded. UFA don't get traded, by the Bulls or any of the other 29 teams.

    Can anyone name any players who were unrestricted free agents the last few years who got traded? I can't think of a single one, though I could be wrong.

  • Hopefully, this tidbit from Sam Smith this morning can halt some of the bitching about the Bulls' medical staff:

    Thibodeau said several players remain on playing time restrictions. He wouldn’t say whom, but Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich each played about 28 minutes and Noah 34.

    So the staff does dole out minute restrictions, and Thibs listens when they are given.

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