CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Andrew Bynum saga is over.
Nearly a week after suspending Bynum, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant was able to unload the center before having to guarantee his contract Tuesday — and got back 2-time All-Star forward Luol Deng in return.
The Cavaliers also send 3 future draft picks, a first and 2 second round selections acquired in previous trades, to Chicago for Deng as well.
“We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organization,” Grant said. “We have worked to acquire and maintain flexibility in order to capitalize on opportunities such as this. Luol reflects all that we are striving for in building our team. He’s a tremendous defensive player that can impact the game on both ends of the court with a team first mentality and is a high character leader.”
Bynum was suspended by the Cavaliers on Dec. 28 for conduct detrimental to the team for 1 game before being excused from all basketball activities by the organization indefinitely while they worked out a trade for the 26-year-old center.
The Bulls receive Cleveland’s right to the Sacramento King’s first round draft pick conveyed in a June 30, 2011 deal (J.J. Hickson for Omri Casspi), the right for Chicago to swap 2015 first round draft picks with the Cavs (1-14 lottery protected) and the rights to the Portland Trail Blazers’ 2015 and 2016 second round draft picks acquired via a 2013 draft night trade (rights to Allan Crabbe).
Chicago will likely waive Bynum prior to Tuesday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline before the rest of his $12 million salary this season becomes guaranteed to get under the NBA’s luxury tax threshold. Bynum signed a 2-year, $24 million deal with the Cavs last summer, but the contract included only $6 million in guaranteed money prior to Jan. 7.
The Cavaliers take on approximately $8.5 million in additional salary by acquiring Deng, who will become a free agent this offseason and recently turned down a contract extension offer from the Bulls.
Deng has been an NBA All-Star in each of the past two seasons and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2012. He also received the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2007 and All-Rookie First Team honors in 2005.
This season, Deng started all 23 games for Chicago, averaging a career-best 19.0 points on .452 shooting, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steal in 37.4 minutes per game. The 6-9, 220-pound forward has scored at least 20 points 10 times this season, including a stretch of 6 straight 20-point games from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5.
Deng, who is the fourth-leading scorer in Bulls franchise history behind Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Bob Love, was originally drafted by Phoenix in the 2004 NBA Draft as the No. 7 overall selection.
He has spent his entire 9-year career with the Bulls and has averaged 16.1 points on .460 shooting, 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal in 35.9 minutes over 637 games (591 starts) in his career. He has also played in 48 playoff games (42 starts) and averaged 16.7 points on .452 shooting, 7.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 40.3 minutes per game.
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