After so many rumors, Luol Deng is now a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It only took signing of a former All-Star center that was a big risk, that risk not working out, the center being suspended, and now being traded.
In this deal, the Chicago Bulls send the small forward to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum, the Cavaliers' right to the Sacramento Kings first-round pick acquired in the summer of 2011, the Portland Trail Blazers 2015 and 2016 second-round picks acquired during last year's draft, and Chicago has the right to swap 2015 first-round picks with the Cavs if it is 15 or later.
The Bynum saga had been long and well documented. He never became the player the Cavaliers were hoping for, the player he was earlier in his career. This can be attributed some to constant knee pain, but also to a lack of desire to play the game of basketball.
He often appeared disinterested on the court and was not helping Cleveland as their starting center. There is also speculation that he did not get along with his teammates, especially after the season began to turn sour.
The Bulls, who's season has fallen apart with the injury to Derrick Rose among others, are expected to waive Bynum by 5 p.m. Tuesday. The move allows them to get under the luxury tax line and gives them flexibility heading into the future.
For the Cavaliers, they now have the small forward they have been looking for since the departure of LeBron James. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert welcomed Deng via his Twitter account early Tuesday morning.
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) January 7, 2014
"We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organization," general manager Chris Grant said in the team's press release. "We have worked to acquire and maintain flexibility in order to capitalize on opportunities such as this. Loul 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."
This season, Deng has played and started in 23 games, averaging a career-best 19 points per game, while shooting 45.2% from the field. He is also averaging 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and one steal in 37.4 minutes per game.
The 6'9", 220-pound forward missed nine games recently with an Achilles injuries, but has returned to play substantial minutes in the Bulls' last three games.
Deng is the type of player head coach Mike Brown will love to have at his disposal. As Grant said, Deng is a factor on both ends of the court, scoring 20 or more points 10 times this season but also being an All-Defensive player in 2012.
The Cavaliers are hoping combining Deng with young guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters will help them turn this season around. There were high expectations heading into this year that this would be when the Cavs would return to the playoffs, but they currently sit three games back in a weak Eastern Conference.
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