Trading for Nothing? Or is it a calculated move to succeed over time?

Just a few hours ago, the Chicago Bulls traded Luol Deng for Andrew Bynum and three future draft picks.  But it seems that a lot of people don’t understand why the Bulls would trade their top scorer for a few draft picks and a disgruntled player that’ll be dropped as soon as the trade is completed.  But here’s why.

There are a few reasons why the Bulls did what they did.  For one, Luol Deng has refused to sign a contract extension to keep him with the Bulls beyond this season.  So in that sense, the Bulls also had a disgruntled player, and, as Bynum has shown, disgruntled players don’t really have too much of a future unless they’re sent somewhere else.  The other big reason for trading Deng is that, because of his refusal to continue with the Bulls, the team now has gotten three future draft picks, which will either materialize as three players or trade fodder, which can more than make up for what the Bulls have lost in Deng.  If a key player has made it clear that he doesn’t want to remain with your team, it behooves you as a GM to trade said player midseason to get something in return for him rather than keeping him for the year, then losing him to free agency and getting nothing in return.

But what has confused people is the fact that the Bulls did this with the expectation of dropping Bynum, which they’re still going to do, barring some horrific injury to Joakim Noah in the next 24 hours.  In this world today, people tend to seek instant gratification, and this is no exception.  But, for this situation, people need to think a little more deeply about how this is advantageous for the Bulls.  Three words.  More cap space.  That’s right.  By getting rid of Deng and dropping Bynum, thereby taking his contract off their books, the Bulls have cut $14.3 million from the salary cap, which allows them to save up and perhaps sign a star player to go along with Derrick Rose, who will return next season.

As for Bynum, no one’s sure what’ll happen, but it seems that the Heat, Clippers, and Knicks all have expressed interest in securing his services.  So while Bynum is down in the dumps for now, there’s no shortage of teams that want him to simply get back up on his feet and show the form he had in 2011 when he was an All-Star.

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