Deng traded from Bulls to Cavaliers in NBA

NBA All-Star forward Luol Deng was traded by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday in a deal for Andrew Bynum and draft picks, the teams announced.

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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, grabbing 6.9 rebounds and making 3.7 assists a game and connecting on 45 per cent of his shots from the court.

Deng would have become a free agent at season end. The Chicago Tribune reported he had rejected an extension with the Bulls worth $US10 million ($A11.2 million) a year for three or four seasons.

The Cavaliers sent Chicago three future NBA Draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first-round draft picks with Cleveland as well as centre Bynum, who was released before Tuesday’s deadline to have the second half of his $US12.3 million ($A13.75 million) deal become guaranteed, setting the stage for him to become a free agent.

The move saves the Bulls, who have already lost star Derrick Rose for the season to a knee injury, more than $US10 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.

For the Cavaliers, Deng will link with 21-year-old Australian-born star guard Kyrie Irving to make Cleveland more formidable in a weak Eastern Conference.

“We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organisation,” said Chris Grant, team general manager.

“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 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.

Bynum had been suspended indefinitely on full pay by the Cavaliers on December 28 for conduct detrimental to the team. The giant has averaged only 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds a game this season.

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