One thing is for sure, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant knows how to win his fair share of trades. Grant may not be the best at drafting players — except for Kyrie Irving — but he knows how to deal. He made it clear that the Cavs won’t be tanking again this season when he traded for Luol Deng on Monday night.
Everyone knew the Cavs wanted to find a taker for disgruntled center Andrew Bynum before the Tuesday deadline that would have forced them to pay him more guaranteed money. Instead of paying Bynum, they will now be employing Deng. The reported trade, broken by Brian Windhorst of ESPN, is as follows: Cavs receive Deng and the Chicago Bulls receive Bynum, a protected first-round pick that was originally acquired from the Sacramento Kings, the right to swap 2015 first-round picks with the Cavs and two future second-round draft picks.
To make that sound a little less complicated, the Cavs get Deng and the Bulls get Bynum, a first-round pick and two second-round picks. Deng immediately makes the Cavs a lot better. He is a two-way player who is great defensively and very good offensively. Their biggest weakness before the trade was at small forward with Alonzo Gee and Earl Clark playing the majority of the minutes there. The Cavaliers reportedly had other trade scenarios on their plate as well, including trades involving Pau Gasol and Richard Jefferson. Obviously, acquiring Deng has more impact than either of those trades could have had.
With how bad the Cavs have played this season, sitting at just 11-23 and 13th in the Eastern Conference, it may have been better to simply give up on this season and try to lose as many games as possible for a shot at Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. However, the Eastern Conference is extremely weak this season with just four teams at .500 or better, so if the Cavs get hot, they could wind up with the No. 5 seed in the postseason. Deng will be a free agent after the season unless the Cavaliers are able to work out a contract extension with him.