The Cleveland Cavaliers made it clear they were looking to trade unwanted player Andrew Bynum. They knew his contract was a tempting one as teams could save their franchise a fortune by signing and then releasing Bynum. Two of the main contenders throughout all of this drama were the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Cavaliers were looking at getting either Luol Deng or Pau Gasol, but here is why they chose to do business with the Bulls and get Deng instead of Gasol from the Lakers.
There were rumors the Lakers wanted Bynum plus a first-round draft pick or another player to sweeten the deal with Dion Waiters‘ name being mentioned. There was no way the Cavaliers were going to entertain this trade. They were out to get what they could for Bynum while helping a team to cut their salary by a large margin; that’s it, but the Lakers were looking to get a very impressive package for an old — although good — player who would be a free agent within a few months. It was simply not worth it for the Cavaliers.
Now you may look at the final package and think the Cavaliers gave in to similar demands that the Lakers had, but they didn’t. They gave three draft picks and Bynum to secure the Deng trade. Firstly, they didn’t have to give up any player they wanted to keep. Secondly, they have plenty of draft picks, so losing these wasn’t a big deal. Finally, Deng is in the peak of his career, and the Cavaliers have a real shot at signing him to a long-term contract when the season finishes.
Although the deals for Deng and Gasol were similar, the Cavaliers got what they wanted and the Bulls got what they wanted. Both teams will improve from this and the Cavaliers could be a very happy, improved franchise if they get to keep Deng for years to come.