In a last minute deal, the Cleveland Cavaliers have sent Andrew Bynum to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Luol Deng and three future draft picks. The Bulls also receive a first round draft pick owed to the Cleveland by the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers could have benefited from this deal by trading Pau Gasol and waiving Bynum to free up luxury tax and cap space unfortunately they failed to respond.
Bynum was suspended indefinitely by the Cleveland Cavaliers while Deng has been plagued by injuries, missing most of the season; he has played three straight games. So which team got the better deal, the Cavaliers or the Bulls?
The Bulls seem to be the team who will benefit immediately; they lacked a true big man with size and the ability to score. When Derrick Rose returns, the combination of he and Bynum could be a formidable tandem. The Cavaliers look to have benefited both short term and long term, with Luol Deng looking to return to rare form after missing most of the season due to an ailing Achilles injury but he does add depth to the Cavs small forward position. The three future draft picks add another layer of benefits for the Cleveland Cavaliers however the Bulls now look to have an edge that could pose a serious threat on the Eastern Conference (only if they decide to keep Bynum).
The Cavs still have issues, losing eight of their last nine games including their current difficulties at the point guard position due to Kyrie Irving sidelined with a knee injury. I expect Deng to pick up some of the scoring slack which could translate into a few wins but I wouldn’t set expectations to high on this team until Kyrie returns. Only then would we will get a look at how the chemistry between Deng and Kyrie translates on the court.
To be considered a serious threat, the Bulls need Rose, their top player back in the lineup; however, I envision them being more successful than the Cavs, even without Rose and Bynum on the court. Let’s be honest, the Bulls are the better team. The Bulls could waive Bynum and earn salary relief that will allow them to get below the luxury tax threshold which could save them more than $20 million dollars. Bynum then could become a free agent with several marque teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat expected to make an offer for his services.
The idea of Bynum in a Bulls uniform is certainly intriguing but It appears both the Cavs and the Bulls were looking to benefit without him on the roster.