The Bulls and Cavs are interdivisional rivals and they completed the biggest trade in the NBA this season. The Bulls sent Luol Deng to the Cavs for C Andrew Bynum and three draft picks. While this trade looks like a slam dunk win for the Cavs, the real question is, Why are the Bulls doing this? It seems to be the beginning of the implosion of the Bulls roster. The Bulls are currently in second place in their division and sixth in the conference, while Cleveland’s fourth in the same division and thirteenth in the conference. This begs the question, Why are the Bulls trading a perennial all-star to pick up a guy just to waive and clear salary cap? What kind of bizarro world’s going on here?
The Chicago Bulls are second in the Central behind the Pacers who’re running away from the rest of their competitors. The Bulls are selling very high on Deng while also clearing cap space for the offseason which will see a number of quality free agents and of course another “Return”. This deal isn’t terrible even though Tom Thibodeau loaths it, but it’s good business sense. The Bulls are going to save about $20 million in salary by waving Bynum while also picking up three draft picks that could be used in future deals to swap players or move up in the draft, although that’s unlikely considering that these rookies are becoming more and more pro-ready every year.
The Bulls are merely waving the white flag and accepting the truth that is the current NBA landscape and more importantly the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are without a superstar and the teams they’re chasing are well ahead of them in terms of roster and player development. The Indiana Pacers may win the Central by 20 games, if not more. The Miami Heat are a lock for the Eastern Conference Finals unless Lebron goes up for an alley-oop and lands awkwardly thus ending his season and Miami’s dynasty in the process.
The Bulls know what so many teams have already figured out, start cashing in the chips now, because the teams that think they have a shot at competing are suckers and the teams with assets to deal are getting fat in the process. Chicago basketball fans need to applaud this move because it was the only move Chicago had. Chicago’s never going to trade Noah, but after that and maybe Jimmy Butler, the firesale’s on – on Madison.