The Cleveland Cavaliers finally completed their objective to offload Andrew Bynum before his salary became fully guaranteed, and they have done it while improving the team for the rest of the season.
The Cavs have reportedly acquired SF Luol Deng – an expiring contract – in exchange for Bynum and a few draft picks, most notably one that’s protected from the Sacramento Kings. The Chicago Bulls will probably waive Bynum, and having both players off the books will give Chicago flexibility for the upcoming season.
But things are even better for the Cavaliers in the short – and possibly long – term. In acquiring Deng, the Cavs now filled their gap at the SF position, and when pairing him with players like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and defensive stud Anderson Varejao, the Cavs vastly improved their team to perhaps even make a push for a late-playoff seed in a very weak Eastern Conference. The picks are surely to sweeten the deal for Chicago, but since most of them were second-round selections, the chances of landing an impact player are not that great.
If the Cavaliers are able to extend Luol Deng for more than this season – something that appears likely if Cleveland turns things around and makes the playoffs – this deal will end up improving their team and help them to start turning the corner in the rebuilding efforts.
While things could go south if Deng isn’t extended, this move could end up being a very good one in the short-term for Cleveland. They needed a spark to lift the team and also needed to part ways with Bynum, so they shot two birds with only one bullet while completing this trade.