After years of rumors and speculation the Bulls finally moved Luol Deng to the Cavs for Andrew Bynum’s wave-a-bull contract, a future 1st and two second round picks. I have long been in favor of this move, and feel the teams’ future got brighter with this trade. That being said, Lu was a hard working player for the Bulls and as a fan I thank him for his service to the team. The organization could not afford to wait this contract negotiation out until summer, just to find out his price was too high. My feeling has been that Lu was set to get PAID this summer, and that the Bulls wanted nothing to do with resigning him to such a large deal. The Cavs have long coveted Deng and for the rest of this season at least they will get there wish. The price of their rental was steep, giving up a future 1st they acquired from the Kings which is protected top 10 for the next three drafts, and two second round picks they acquired previously from Portland.
The Bulls are hoping that Sacramento falls out of the top ten worst teams in the next three drafts and they could get a lottery selection out of the deal. If Sacramento fails to do so then the pick will be converted into a 2nd round pick in 2017. So worst case the Bulls get three second round picks for Deng. This move will come as a surprise to Deng’s teammates and may have some negative responses. Deng’s minutes will be shared between Mike Dunleavy, Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell, and allow the team to give Butler and Snell more experience during a season that was lost when Derrick Rose grabbed his knee in pain for the second time in two seasons. Moving forward the team will now be able to bring Nikola Mirotic over in the summer and have a chance to trade or amnesty Carlos Boozer. The team now has a chance to receive three selections in the top 15 players in this summers draft or two selections this year (Theirs & Charlotte’s) and possible a third from Sacramento sometime in the next three years.
This summer Cleveland will most likely open the checkbook for Deng and have a chance to lure him in long term with dollar signs. The Bulls saved the organization a 20 million plus in a luxury tax bill by moving Deng and if they can move Boozer off the books will be players in free agency this summer as well. The fact that Rose has been injured twice in the last two seasons has the organization protecting its future and trying to find a second fiddle to play with Rose or maybe even a lead guitar to carry the flag as Rose becomes the second option. This move was brash and I am not sold that they are done making moves. Look for them to get involved in shopping Boozer before the February 20th trade deadline, which could land them another expiring and maybe even a draft selection.