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To Peponi from Kuzimu: Group Thoughts on the Andrew Bynum – Luol Deng Trade

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

Luol Deng has been traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and three first round picks. The trade was first reported by Shams Charania on RealGM.com, around 1:15 am EST.

In exchange for Deng, the Cavs send Chicago Bynum, Cleveland’s right to the Sacramento King’s first round draft pick conveyed in a June 30, 2011 deal, the right for Chicago to swap its own 2015 first round draft pick with the Cavs own 2015 first round draft pick (only in the case that the Cleveland 2015 first round draft pick is between 15 and 30) and the Portland Trail Blazer’s 2015 and 2016 second round draft picks acquired from the Trail Blazers via 2013 draft night trade.

Luol  Deng has been traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew  Bynum and three first round picks. (Screengrab by Dan Lewis)

(Screengrab by Dan Lewis from ESPN’s Trade Machine)

A handful of  members of the Hickory-High collective shared their thoughts on the deal:

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1. What is benefit for Cavaliers?

Zachary Bennett (@ZacharyBD): They’re getting a player that helps them remain below, or just under, mediocre in the East? Oh, and getting rid of Bynum, that’s good too. If I’m a fan of the Cavs, and I’m not, I suppose the move puts a capable wing player next to Kyrie Irving — who could use one of those.

Dan Lewis (@danlewismedia): They get an upgrade at the small forward position – Earl Clark and Alonzo Gee have a PER of 9.7 and 6.3 this season. Deng is also a veteran presence with experience winning in the playoffs. I’m sure Mike Brown will be grateful to have a player he can count on defensively and who can shoot from the perimeter, at the least. Deng will likely be able to take some of the shooting responsibilities away from Waiters and Irving, while helping Varejao and Thompson rebound.

Andy Liu (@AndyKHLiu): They get to make the playoffs as a 6-8 seed and get pummeled out the first round? Apparently, playoff experience is that important. I have no idea how management in Cleveland handles losing (maybe Chris Grant was mandated to field a contender) but this is certainly not an appetizing long-term solution. Luol Deng turned down a $10+ million per year deal before being traded. Will Cleveland give him more and is it worth it? That’s a question that sorta has no good answers.

Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin): Short-term or long-term? In the short term, they improve their playoff odds. That’s about it. Saying this guarantees them a playoff spot, even with the East as bad as it is, is a gross overreaction (if you hadn’t noticed already – they’re 11-23). Long term, they surrender a possible lottery pick (or at the very least, three second round picks) for a player who raises their ceiling to “still not a real contender” at any point over the next few years. Poker metaphors are overplayed to a groan-inducing degree, but the Cavs here are pushing all (or at least most) of their chips towards the middle without a pocket pair or even a suited face card. I don’t quite get it.

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2. What is benefit for Bulls?

Bennett: The Bulls have won the GRAND prize of remaining under the cap, acquiring picks and – theoretically – giving themselves a higher selection in the upcoming draft.

Lewis: They save money, and get to begin rebuilding for the future. With Thibodeau, I don’t think they’ll be capable of tanking – they’ll just be really bad, and they’ll get a lottery pick. Now they can play Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah 48 minutes a game until Noah’s feet wither and Butler’s body explodes. Those are best case scenarios. What do they have left? Everything.

Liu: The first-round pick is so heavily protected that the Bulls will likely not own a lottery pick for the foreseeable future. But what they do acquire is still picks and three is better than nothing (compared to them just letting Deng walk away). Now they can start losing, amnesty Carlos Boozer and start over with a core of Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose next season. And I hear that Nikola Mirotic guy is good?

Conlin: You mean besides slashing payroll (pushing $20 million between salary and the luxury tax) in a foregone season and potentially picking up a lottery pick in the process? You’re right, I can’t see any positives other than those.

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3. What is impact of the rest of the NBA?

Bennett: I don’t see Cleveland being any better than before. The process of ‘meshing’ and ‘developing chemistry’ will take some time, Irving’s injury is unsettling and Anderson Varejao hasn’t had a great history with staying healthy, either. Too many questions, too many things that need to go right. That being said the Cavs aren’t going to make more noise than they were before, if they were making any.

Lewis: Good grief, the Eastern Conference is a dumpster fire. It’s like watching ‘Marley & Me’ after your dog died and your girlfriend broke up with you sad. At 11-23, the Cavaliers were 3.5 games ahead of the Bucks, who have settled into the basement of the East. On the flip side, they were only 3 games back of Detroit for the 8 seed. Giving time for Deng to learn defensive rotations, offensive plays, and finding a place to live, the Cavaliers should be able to start winning a couple games in a row, and get into playoff contention. I do think we will begin to see more trades that don’t involve Masai the Mastermind in Toronto. Bynum was a big chip, which means players like Asik or Andre Miller will certainly be moved before the All-Star break. All aboard the Wiggins Express!

Liu: Both teams will stink with the Cavaliers maybe, perhaps, losing a bit less. Really, it’ll just perpetuate the notion that even the crappiest of teams can make the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavaliers as assembled are not much better than the Sacramento Kings in the West.

Conlin: Unless you’re the Cavs, Bulls, or Kings (the team currently owning the first-round pick conveyed from Cleveland to Chicago), probably not much. Chicago will get worse and play the lottery. Cleveland will get marginally better, to the point where they might earn the right to get swept out of the playoffs by Indiana or Miami. Other than that, the only “impact” it has is in regards to discussions about how teams value future draft picks and financial flexibility, and those discussions get really tedious really quickly. So unless you’re a huge dork (like, weapons-grade dork-ery), it doesn’t matter.

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4. How long until Thibodeau breaks down and cries on the sideline?

Bennett: I wasn’t aware Thibs was a cryer. If he’s a drinker, I’d see to it that someone ensure he gets home ok.

Lewis: Oh, gosh, probably right after the All-Star break, when Butler and Noah aren’t medically cleared to return. The Bulls could be starting D.J. Augustin, Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler, Carlos Boozer and Nazr Mohammed at some point this season, with Dunleavy, Teague, Gibson coming off the bench.

Liu: I’m just glad Luol Deng is out of that situation. Don’t forget that he had a spinal tap mishap and the Bulls medical staff termed him questionable. That’s a freaking joke. He’s played through multiple injuries and appears to be a tough dude but there’s only so much a human body can handle. Hopefully, he doesn’t play 37+ minutes per game as he did in Chicago. As for Thibs, I imagined him chasing after Deng while Deng boards the flight (celebrating while he’s at it) to play just one more 50-minute game. He’ll probably take out the extra minutes on Jimmy Butler, or something.

Conlin: Thibodeau seems like the type of coach that is either unwilling or unable to “tank” by the definition that we collectively seem to accept. He might cry, but he will still be fighting tooth and nail to win every game. It wouldn’t shock me if a rift grew between Chicago’s front office (who would seem disinterested in winning) and head coach (who is a pathological competitor), and we’ve seen how those rifts usually end. It probably won’t come to a head this season, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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5. What does this mean for Anthony Bennett?

Bennett: It’s time for him to sit on the bench and think about what he hasn’t done.

Lewis: More D-League time! He had 21 turnovers and 27 field goals this season. That’s quite bad. Hopefully, he can watch Deng play and realize, “Okay, when I’m on the court, try to do that.”

Liu: Agree with Daniel Lewis here. Time to go the Shabazz Muhammad route and get some seasoning. And it isn’t all that bad, either.

Conlin: Mike Brown’s history with player development is, well, *low whistle* wow, this is a bit awkward…

What was the question again?

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6. What is the next trade to go down?

Bennett: Alexey Shved and J.J. Barea to the Toronto Raptors, without the Timberwolves having to give up assets — please.

Lewis: Three team trade with the Clippers, Kings, and Nuggets. Andre Miller and Jared Dudley to the Kings, Reggie Bullock and Jimmer Fredette to the Nuggets, and Jason Thompson to the Clippers. Miller can help give the Kings a player who is content posting up a few times a game and throwing lobs from 40 feet away, and Dudley has been awful, which makes him perfect for Sacramento. The Clippers get an outstanding young forward who can come off the bench for Doc Rivers so they don’t have to play Mullens and Hollins as much. The Nuggets continue to pile assets with Bullock, who is in the first year of his rookie contract, and Fredette, who would at least make his wife (a Denver native) happy by playing in the Mile High City. He would probably be the safest NBA player to trade for, with the new legislation in Colorado as well. No off-court drama there! Make it work!

Conlin: Kyle Lowry going somewhere that isn’t New York. It would just be too hilarious to not happen. The Knicks give up a guaranteed No. 1 for Andrea Bargnani, followed by the Cavs NOT giving up a guaranteed No. 1 for Luol Deng, followed by the Knicks deciding the price for Kyle Lowry (whatever that may be) is too steep. I’d love for him to end up in Oklahoma City, or Memphis, or another city with a team looking for a point guard. Just not the Knicks. For the laughs.

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