I knew something was strange when my friend from Cleveland sent me a message yesterday morning: ’What do you think of this trade?’
Since I’m a Bulls fan, I knew it had something to do with them. And because it came from my friend in Cleveland, I had a feeling it had something to do with Cleveland. I quickly started my computer, went to espn.com, and waited impatiently as the site was loading. Whatever happened, I knew it was going to be one of the top stories.
Second link down said it all: Cavs trade Bynum for Bulls’ Deng.
I know both Luol Deng and Andrew Bynum have been in trade rumors lately, but I never considered that this would happen; one of my favorite players being traded for what may be my least favorite player. How could the Bulls give up such a valuable player and person for someone like Andrew fucking Bynum?
However, the Bulls had more plans than to just trade for the big disappointing center who sometimes doesn’t play a single minute for your team. In exchange for Deng, the Bulls received 2 future second round draft picks, 1 first round draft pick, and by trading Deng and waiving Bynum merely hours after trading for him, the Bulls will save about $20 million. Instead of fighting until the bitter end with what they have, the Bulls’ management decided to build for the future NOW while Rose heals from his latest knee surgery. While I’m relieved that Bulls fans everywhere will never have to watch Bynum play a minute for this team too, it’s a shame that they had to get rid of such an asset like Lu. So much for that core group that the Bulls have worked so hard to build over the years. Deng will be sorely missed.
Luol Deng is one of the most underrated players in the league, in my opinion. It doesn’t make sense to say that a 2-time All Star is underrated, but nearly everyone I talk to thought that he shouldn’t have been selected, thus slightly giving him the ‘overrated’ label. But I’m not buying it. Put Deng on any team, and its fans will be thrilled to have such a dynamic player. There aren’t many guys in the NBA at his size who can shoot and defend positions 1-4 like he can, meanwhile, be the kind of humanitarian that he is. Lu was known for being a great teammate, and as a fan, I can’t think of many players I’d rather have on my team. I will miss watching him play as a Bull, but I’ll always be a Luol Deng fan.
A big time advocate of Lu, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had this to say after the trade:
‘You couldn’t ask anything more of a player. Practice hard, be a great leader, play for the team, be selfless. Whatever I asked him to do, he did. And he bought in from day one, from the minute I got here…So I appreciated that and I thought when you look at what he did, the way he worked and the way he performed, those are two things I value greatly. And then when you add to it the type of person he is, all the things that he did in the community. He embodied what we stand for. Lu was never the type of guy that would call attention to himself by the things that he did. He did a lot of good things in this community because he felt it was the right thing to do.’