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Cavaliers could put off Luol Deng contract talks to try to sign LeBron James

LeBron-James-Free-AgencyThe Cleveland Cavaliers recently acquired Luol Deng in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, and you would assume they envision the 28-year-old remaining with the team for several years. Deng is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, but the Cavs may hold off on negotiating with him until they figure out where they stand with a more familiar impending free agent — LeBron James.

LeBron can opt out of his current contract with the Miami Heat after the season. The Cavs have yet to discuss a contract extension with Deng, and he understands why LeBron might stand in the way.

“He’s a great player, why wouldn’t you look at him?” Deng told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. “If he wants to come back home, that’s great for him and great for this organization. He’s a great player. Why not?

“I’m all right with that. I’m here to do what I can do and be Luol Deng. I don’t really worry about it. I don’t have the mindset that I can control what everyone else thinks. I just do what I can do and try to be the best at what I do.”

Of course, the Cavs could never publicly admit that they intend to pursue King James. Since LeBron is under contract with another team, that would be a violation of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement. Team owner Dan Gilbert wrote a nasty letter to the fans ripping LeBron after he left, but we all know he would gladly welcome him back.

“I really think for Cleveland that LeBron knows the way he left, and he apologized for it already,” Deng said. “…And at the end of the day, he is a great basketball player and I think for him to come back to Cleveland is not only a great story, but you can’t hold grudges forever.”

As Spears pointed out, it would not be impossible for the Cavs to sign LeBron and extend Deng. However, Deng turned down a three-year, $30 million extension from the Bulls before he was traded. He will obviously be looking for a hefty contract. If LeBron opts out, he will become priority No. 1 for Cleveland. The same will be true for every other team in the NBA.

Luol Deng traded to Cavs for Andrew Bynum, three picks

Luol DengLess than 12 hours after we told you the Chicago Bulls were looking to trade Luol Deng, the team dealt the forward.

The Bulls on Monday evening traded Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and three picks. The Bulls don’t want Bynum to play for them; they’re acquiring him for financial relief. They get to waive Bynum before his $12 million guarantee (per his contract terms) kick in and won’t have to pay him anything. Bynum will likely become a free agent and be available for any team to sign him.

The Bulls will receive a draft pick the Cavs acquired from the Sacramento Kings (it could be a first-round pick; the terms of this pick are very detailed), and the Portland Trail Blazers’ 2015 and 2016 second-round picks acquired by Cleveland in a 2013 draft night trade. They also have the right to swap first-round picks with the Cavs.

Full terms of the trade are below, as explained in a press release by the Cavs:

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 a 2013 draft night trade.

Eye on Basketball’s Matt Moore also shared the info on the Sacramento Kings’ protected pick the Bulls are receiving.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Deng turned down a 3-year, $30 million extension offer from Chicago, which led to him being traded. He’ll probably get a lot more than that as a free agent this offseason.

The 11-23 Cavs are obviously looking to put a much better product on the court, and Deng will help them do that. The Bulls are going into rebuilding mode, which is probably the smart thing to do given Derrick Rose’s health. They are likely to amnesty Carlos Boozer in the offseason.

News of the trade was first reported by Real GM’s Shams Charania.

Report: Bulls looking to trade Luol Deng, will amnesty Carlos Boozer

Luol Deng Carlos BoozerDerrick Rose may soon become one unhappy Chicago Bull.

Remember last month we told you that Rose was concerned that the Chicago Bulls might go through a rebuilding period? Well it sounds like that process is going to happen.

The New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence reported on Saturday that the Bulls are looking to trade Luol Deng and will likely amnesty Carlos Boozer.

[The Bulls will] definitely be looking to deal Luol Deng before the Feb. 20 trading deadline. Deng is a free agent this summer and the Bulls don’t want to pay him anything close to top dollar. The second part of their house-cleaning: They intend on using their amnesty move this coming summer to part ways with Carlos Boozer.

There have been numerous trade rumors concerning Deng, so this should not come as a surprise. Deng is a very fine player who has consistently put up strong shooting and rebounding numbers since entering the league in 2004, so we have little doubt they’ll be able to find a trade partner for him.

Boozer is set to earn $16.8 million next season, so it sounds like the Bulls just don’t feel like he’s worth paying the money to, either. Boozer has been dealing with a knee injury lately.

The Bulls’ plan to rebuild rather than pay big money to these veterans next season (or beyond) makes sense. Back-to-back knee injuries to Rose have completely changed their plan longterm. If they don’t know if Rose will play like an MVP — or be able to play at all — why keep an expensive surrounding cast around him when they can acquire other assets instead?

Chest bump to Eye on Basketball

Luol Deng tweets support for Bulls from his hospital bed (Picture)

Luol-Deng-hospital-bed

The Chicago Bulls somehow continue to win games despite their plethora of significant injuries. Already without the 2011 NBA MVP in Derrick Rose, Chicago is also missing Luol Deng. The big man was suffering from flu-like symptoms before Game 6 against the Brooklyn Nets and has not been able to suit up since because of complications stemming from a spinal tap he underwent to test for viral meningitis.

On Monday night, Deng watched the Bulls take a 1-0 series lead of the Miami Heat from his hospital bed. He shared the photo you see above along with the following tweet:

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