The NBA trade rumors of 2014 are now official news when it comes to unhappy Cleveland Cavaliers star Andrew Bynum. The former All-Star had been suspended indefinitely by the team for "detrimental conduct", and now he's been unloaded. Bynum will now join the Chicago Bulls, while the Cavs pick up a quality All-Star forward and dynamic player in Luol Deng.
Story update: Chicago Bulls have waived Andrew Bynum (via Bleacher Report)
A report from Sports Illustrated on Jan. 7 indicates that the Cavs traded Bynum along with several draft picks to the Bulls in exchange for Deng, with the news arriving late on Monday night. The Bulls, who are currently struggling without Derrick Rose playing, will get the Sacramento Kings' first-round pick in 2014, as well as the Portland Trailblazers' 2015 and 2016 second-round picks. The Bulls also get the right to swap first-round picks in 2015 with the Cavaliers, if the Cavs happen to wind up in the 15 to 30 range of the draft.
Cavs GM Chris Grant released a statement about the deal saying:
"We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organization. We have worked to acquire and maintain flexibility in order to capitalize on opportunities such as this. Luol reflects all that we are striving for in building our team. He’s a tremendous defensive player that can impact the game on both ends of the court with a team-first mentality and is a high character leader."
The move may come as a surprise to Chicago Bulls fans, although the team clearly won't be competing for any championships in the near future. With Rose sidelined, the Bulls quickly dropped in the Eastern Conference standings. As of this report, Chicago is still in sixth place, ahead of the Bobcats and Pistons by several games. However, the East is so close when it comes to teams with poor records competing for a final playoff spot, that the Bulls could fall out of contention. Brooklyn, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Orlando, and even Milwaukee are all capable of snagging playoff spots, with a well-timed run prior to the end of the season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers currently have a record of 11-23, which still isn't far from a playoff spot. With Deng added into the lineup, they now have another scorer to take pressure off Kyrie Irving, as well as a veteran player with some playoff experience. Luol Deng has spent his entire 9-year career with the Bulls up until this point and has averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, with higher stats in all three categories for this current season so far.