Following rumors of talks of a Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers go a different direction, executing a major trade with the Chicago Bulls.
According to ESPN.com, the two teams hashed out a trade Monday evening (Jan. 6) that will send Bulls All-Star Luol Deng to the Cavs for Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks, and of course, major salary savings.
As the sports network points out, the addition of Deng is a move by the Cavs to attempt playoff contention, pairing him at the small forward position alongside young guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. He’s averaging 19 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 23 games this season, though he has been bothered by an injured Achilles that caused him to miss nine games over the past six weeks.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert welcomed Deng via Twitter (@CavsDan) early Tuesday morning (Jan. 7): “Welcome @LuolDeng9 to the Cleveland Cavaliers!”
The Bulls, on the other hand, seem to be giving up on the season after Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending knee injury, and plan to focus on the upcoming draft and next season.
After getting Bynum, they plan to waive him by 5 p.m. Tuesday and clear his $12.3 million salary off their books. That will enable the Bulls to get below the luxury tax threshold. That, combined with the savings from not having to pay Deng the balance of his $14.3 million salary, will save the team in more than $20 million.
After clearing waivers, Bynum is set to become a free agent by the end of the week.