The day that Miami Heat fans have been salivating for finally came last night when the Chicago Bulls traded Loul Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum with the intent of releasing the 7-footer before the rest of his $12.3 million contract becomes guaranteed.
Not only was that good because the center obviously has interest in signing with the team in South Beach, but it became great because it officially knocks the Bulls from the levels of contention to the rebuilding stage. This indeed hurts coach Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose‘s status with management — although the dismantling is partially the fault of the point guard’s knees.
And as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel pointed out, the Bynum deal could be a win-win for the Heat by taking the Cavs out of the LeBron James race:
“In effect, the Deng-Bynum trade not only could potentially bolster the Heat with additional height for a 2014 championship run, but also make it more likely that James remains in place in the offseason, when he has the option to become a free agent.”
Not to mention it would throw a monkey-wrench in the plans of the Indiana Pacers. But with all of that said, what would it do to the Greg Oden process?
On one hand, Bynum’s bulk makes the team more than equipped to bang with the few big men who pose a threat to the three-peat. However, the mixed feelings occur when you think of the potential problems.
Although Pat Riley is probably the closest thing to Phil Jackson when it comes to keeping troubled players in check, what happens when Bynum figures out that he’ll be suiting up behind Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen? And is an NBA title run worth crushing Oden’s psyche?
A player like him looking to play his first professional game in four years would be devastated. He would be watching a center come in and steal the spot that he was brought in for. And after all of the rehab and patience, the smile from merely entering a preseason game would be gone at the expense of the annual Miami late year pickup.
And it’s a pickup that likely won’t be back for an entire season while a sad Oden is pushed out the door, meaning two bigs could easily turn into none.