|(NBA) Cavaliers boost defensive option with Luol Deng
Britain's Luol Deng, a US National Basketball Association All-Star forward, was traded by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a deal for Andrew Bynum and draft picks, the teams announced Tuesday.
Deng, a 28-year-old playmaker born in what is now South Sudan, has averaged a career-best 19 points in 23 starts for the Bulls this season, also grabbing 6.9 rebounds and making 3.7 assists a game and connecting on 45.2 percent of his shots from the court, AFP reports.
Deng would have become a free agent at the end of the season.
The Cavaliers sent Chicago three future NBA Draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first-round draft picks with Cleveland as well as center Bynum, who was released before Tuesday's deadline to have the second half of his US$12.3 million deal become guaranteed, setting the stage for him to become a free agent.
The move saved the Bulls, who have already lost star Derrick Rose for the season to a knee injury, more than US$10 million in luxury tax payouts and gives them more chances at top young talent in the draft for long-term rebuilding.
“The moves made today will put us in a better position to make the entire roster stronger for the future and to compete for a championship,'' said Bulls general manager Gar Forman.
Chris Grant, Cavaliers general manager, said: “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.''
The Bulls obtained the first-round pick in this year's NBA Draft of Sacramento, which the Cavaliers had owned from a 2011 trade, as well as Portland's second round picks in the 2015 and 2016 NBA Draft, obtained by Cleveland from the Trail Blazers last year.
Deng was taken seventh overall by Phoenix in the 2004 NBA Draft but has spent his entire nine-year NBA career with the Bulls, averaging 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal over 637 career regular-season games.