The Cleveland Cavaliers have finally found a way to unload Andrew Bynum, with the Chicago Bulls serving as their trade-and-cut partner in exchange for some help regrouping for the future.
The Cavs, who have been trying to deal Bynum and the rest of his contract since behavioral problems arose, worked a trade with the Bulls on Monday night, according to ESPN.com. Chicago is giving up two-time All-Star Luol Deng, while the Cavaliers will send Bynum and three future draft picks to the Bulls.
Chicago will receive substantial salary cap help by acquiring Bynum. The Bulls plan to waive Bynum before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline, according to ESPN, which not only clears Chicago from paying the final $6 million of his $12.3 million salary but also takes all $12.3 million off their total salary cap figure. That, combined with shipping away Deng and his salary, saves the Bulls more than $20 million and gets them below the luxury tax as they look to rebuild. Chicago has been planning ahead since losing star point guard Derrick Rose to injury again this season.
Deng, who spent nine-plus seasons in Chicago, turned down a $30 million contract extension from Chicago before the trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The 28-year-old Deng is due $14.3 million in the final season of his contract and is averaging 19.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 37 games. He’s been hobbled by injuries throughout his career with the Bulls and has missed nine games over the last six weeks with an injured Achilles. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Bynum, who missed last season and much of this season coming back from injury, was suspended by the Cavaliers in December for “conduct detrimental to the team” and will become an unrestricted free agent if he is cut and clears waivers. The Cavs had been trying to move him before Tuesday’s cutoff, with the Lakers and Jazz among suitors. He could attract attention from a championship contender if he becomes a free agent, with ESPN listing the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks as interested teams.
Deng is expected to contribute alongside Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving and guard Dion Waiters.