The Cleveland Cavaliers made a good personnel move on Monday night.
By trading three draft round picks and the contract of disgruntled center Andrew Bynum, the Cavs received at least half of a season of Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng. A free agent at the end of the year, Deng is in Cleveland for the short term and it’s Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant‘s job to hammer out a long-term extension with the All-Star.
To be honest, this is a move that most NBA fans thought would have happened before the season even started. Cleveland has a great young nucleus of players, yet the stinging issues of leadership and overall lack of veterans seem to drag the team. That shouldn’t be the case now as Deng has won on the bigger stages and the 10-year veteran knows exactly what it takes to come to play every single night for a team wanting to move up the ladder.
However, if Deng and the Cavaliers don’t etch out a long-term extension rather quickly then was this trade really worth it? The answer is no. Sure, you get rid of a headache in Bynum, but this deal is hardly a slam dunk. The 11-23 Cavs have now dealt multiple draft picks and a priceless expiring contract for a player that could leave the franchise after less than 50 games.
I understand that Deng is the type of player that can get Cleveland over the hump, but if the Cavaliers can’t extend the small forward in the not-so-distant future, then this trade will go down as a missed opportunity and not a franchise-changer.