OK, let’s be realistic here for a second. Nobody should want Andrew Bynum on their team, and the Cleveland Cavaliers had to find that out the hard way. Can’t really blame them for the move at the beginning of the year; signing him to a two-year, non-guaranteed contract was a smart way to potentially add a star to play with Kyrie Irving.
Due to his “detrimental conduct” toward the team, however, he’s been suspended indefinitely and is reportedly on the chopping block.
The latest rumor on where he could end up is the Chicago Bulls, as offered by ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. He explained that the Bulls could be a potential destination because of how the numbers work out in a deal with Luol Deng.
Windhorst believes Chicago’s front office may consider such a move in an effort to creep below the luxury tax and save around $20 million in what is certainly a year that’s going nowhere without Derrick Rose. But as my colleague Ryan Heckman pointed out, this deal doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense for the Bulls.
Not only have they talked about potentially still trying to work out a deal with Deng, but to trade him away — a fan favorite — for literally nothing but saving some pocket change (yes, I am being facetious there) would not sit well with the fan base. Their image would take a hit and if fans already were struggling to support the team that’s playing so poorly, how do you think they’ll respond to this kind of move? They’d lose a fortune in ticket sales and merchandise over the next four-to-six months.
Despite that fact, there is one way in which this deal could work and keep everyone happy — meaning Bulls management, head coach Tom Thibodeau, because he’s still trying to go out there and keep his team working for every victory, and the fans.
If the Cavaliers were still interested in trading Dion Waiters, then a deal where the Bulls trade Deng for Bynum and Waiters (with maybe a couple moving other pieces if they need to match up the money) could actually make a ton of sense for both franchises. The Cavs get a great team player in Deng, the Bulls get a young two-guard with promise and Chicago’s front office can waive Bynum and save a bunch of money in a lost season. Everybody wins. It is, of course, fully dependent on if the Cavs are still willing to part ways with Waiters, though.
For the Bulls, they could then move Jimmy Butler over to the three, and then they’d have Waiters start next to Kirk Hinrich in the backcourt. Then next year when the Bulls have Rose back, they could have a young and well-balanced team to work with for at least a few seasons.
There is one catch in all of this, however. Bynum will be put on waivers, and there is a scenario where the Miami Heat could add him to their roster. Perhaps on a team like that, Bynum will become a passable teammate and if that happens, well, look out for a much more likely three-peat. Something Bulls fans definitely don’t want to see. Hopefully, if this trade were to come to fruition, that scenario would not take place.
But other than that unfortunate happenstance, there is potential in this deal, and the Bulls would actually be wise to make it if it became available.