The Cleveland Cavaliers have traded for Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls late last night. We will break down the Fit and the Future with Deng later today but for now we will look at the actual trade. This is one of the biggest trade in the Cavaliers history that involved a established NBA player. There have been trades in the past, including the Shaquille O’Neal, with big names but generally those names have been past their prime. Before we actually look at the trade here are a few facts, or statements, from FoS.
- Deng is 28 years old.
- Deng is the best small forward since Lebron James, by a whole lot.
- Most Cavs fans would have done backflips to sign Deng over Andrew Bynum this off-season for one season.
- Bynum would have never played another minute for the Cavaliers.
- The Front Office/Ownership sees making the playoffs as an important step in the team’s development.
Now on to the trade. The very basics of the trade are clear: The Cavaliers acquire Deng in exchange for Andrew Bynum’s contact, the Sacramento Kings‘ protected 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks and the right to switch spots in the first round in 2015. A quick look at the trade makes it look like a large package for a rental of Deng; 3 picks, a huge savings on a contract and the right to get a better pick in the draft in 2 years. Lets look at each piece and how much value each has:
Andrew Bynum’s Contract
Bynum’s contract can be cut today and save the Bulls a significant amount of money. This is even more true for the Bulls then for the Cavs. The Cavs would have saved the approximate $6 million left on the contract. That will save the Bulls over $20 million dollars this season for the Bulls. It will also keep them from having to deal with the repeater tax next season, huge for the Bulls who have always pinched a few pennies.
Sacramento Kings’ Pick
This pick has interesting protections and for the Bulls they will not start to root for the Kings to win. The Bulls will acquire this pick if the Kings draft 13th or worse in 2014 and 11th or worse between the years of ’15 through ’17. The Kings have struggled over the past few years. This year the Kings sit with the fourth worst record. The Kings would have to go on an extreme winning streak to come anywhere near the 13th, or worse, pick this year. This does not bode well for the future of the Kings. They have added veteran Rudy Gay, who they should have through next year at least, to Demarcus Cousins (highly volatile superstar) and rookie Ben McLemore. The team could easily make the playoffs in the East, but are stuck in the ultra tough Western Conference. If the Kings don’t give up the pick by ’17 the pick becomes a second rounder.
Two Second Round Picks
These second round picks, in ’15 and 16′, were acquired by the Cavs in exchange for a second round pick in last year’s draft. For teams who have a number of veterans and a high salary cap second round picks can be hugely valuable for depth purposes. A young team with many players in the first 3 years in the league, adding 2 other rookies is far less beneficial.
Right to Switch Picks in 2015
The Cavaliers may have started the history of this type of trade asset, the ability to switch spots with a team in the draft. The Cavs benefited as they switched the pick they acquired from the Miami Heat for the 1st round position of the LA Lakers to move up about 10 spots. In this case the switch is top 14 protected. So if the Cavaliers are still out of the playoffs the Bulls can’t switch positions. This right will be used if the Bulls have a better record then the playoff bound Cavaliers. This will mean the Cavs have shown the improvements the team hoped to. The Cavs will have a chance to add a signficant piece to their roster this off-season, or keep Deng, while the Bulls will have the returning Derrick Rose. Where each team’s records are is up in the air, but it is clear that the Bulls will only be able to move up 15 spots total and at highest pick #15.
Evaluating the Trade
Looking at the value of what the Cavs gave up in the trade it becomes a much simpler trade: Rental of Luol Deng for a protected Kings’ pick (no higher then #11) that possibly becomes a second rounder and at maximum 15 spots in the draft in 2 years. Chris Grant took 2 risky assets (Bynum and the Kings pick) and turned it into Deng. We will cover later how Deng fits with the Cavs on the court and how he fits in the future for the team as well.
Now that we have reviewed the trade how do you feel about the trade? Did Grant pull off another steal? Do you want Deng to re-sign instead of having a chance at another high level free agent? Do you see the Cavs making the playoffs? If so, what seed could they get with Deng filling in at small forward?