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Great Britain star Luol Deng has been traded by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and draft picks.
The trade, first reported by Real GM’s Shams Charania in the early hours of Tuesday morning, ends 10 years of service to the Bulls by Luol, and comes after he reportedly rejected a three-year, $30 million contact extension from Chicago.
The 28 year will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after talks with Chicago management broke down last summer.
“We have great respect for Luol Deng, as a player and a person. He has been an incredible contributor to our team on the court, and he has also done great things in the community,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman in a statement on the Bulls’ website. “On behalf of the entire Bulls organization, I want to thank Luol for his years in Chicago.”
In addition to sending Bynum’s contract to Chicago, the Cavaliers also conveyed to the Bulls a future draft pick via the Sacramento Kings (Sacramento’s conditional regular first round selection in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 otherwise, Sacramento’s 2017 regular second round pick if it falls between 31-55).
Cleveland also conveyed to Chicago the Portland Trail Blazers’ 2015 and 2016 regular second round draft picks, which were held by the Cavaliers. In addition, if Cleveland is not in the NBA Draft Lottery in 2015, the Bulls have the right to switch regular first round selections with the Cavaliers.
“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 Forman.
“We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organization, ” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “We have worked to acquire and maintain flexibility in order to capitalize on opportunities such as this. 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.”
Deng, currently in his 10th season in the NBA, came to the Bulls in a Draft-night deal with the Phoenix Suns in 2004. In 637 (591 starts) regular season contests, he holds career averages of 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 2.5 apg in 35.9 mpg.
He has been an NBA All-Star in each of the past two seasons (2012 and 2013) and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2012. He also received the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2007 and All-Rookie First Team honors in 2005.
This season, Deng appeared in 23 games (all starts) for Chicago, averaging a career-best 19.0 points on .452 shooting, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steal in 37.4 minutes per game. The 6-9, 220-pound forward has scored at least 20 points 10 times this season, including a stretch of six straight 20-point games from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5.
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