Sixers vs. Cavaliers Preview: Actually Let's Talk About That Deng Trade Instead

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

The Sixers play the Cavaliers play tonight. Much more interestingly, the Cavaliers just traded for Luol Deng. I discuss that trade instead of the game tonight, because really, what's there to watch for?

Yesterday, I wrote about the Cleveland Cavaliers reeking of desperation when seeking to make deals for mostly unproductive veterans in Pau Gasol and Richard Jefferson. The Cavs want to embark on a playoff run this year, and they wanted people to help. Gasol, at this stage of his career, and Jefferson, the version from the past 4 seasons, would not make them significantly better.

But Luol Deng should, and his acquisition makes Cleveland a much better team. Even if, as I said, they're basically building a bridge to nowhere.

Like everything else in life, the Bulls were motivated by the almighty dollar. Standing above the luxury tax line, and below .500 in the standings, the Bulls could reasonably do one of three things to manage their salary situation: stand pat, give up draft picks or other cost-certain assets to dump Carlos Boozer's onerous contract, or dump Luol Deng's friendlier contract and gain something out of it.

Standing pat would limit their future spending or make it so expensive to field a competitive team that it wouldn't be worth it for owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who has the a "cheap" reputation to begin with. And with uncertainty surrounding Derrick Rose, payroll flexibility is valuable, especially if they have to launch into a full rebuild. Paying the repeater tax should not be considered an option when your team is in the lottery, unless a suspicious Russian billionaire owns it.

The options, then, were trading Boozer and his deal, along with sweeteners, or moving Deng and his contract and getting something back in return. Unfortunately for Bulls fans, the preferred option was clear. Deng is a free agent at the end of the season with no guarantee of return. He grabbed the team a potential future first round pick. The team and player disagreed over the player's value. It happens.

Whether or not this is a good move for the Cavaliers long-term (protip: it's not), the Cavs can at least make a playoff run this year after moving three draft picks and Andrew Bynum's attitude to Chicago. Two low second rounders (a$$et$, as we like to call them around here) and a 50-50 shot at a future Kings' pick aren't much of a price to pay for a very good player like Luol Deng, especially when you don't consider every other ripple effect this will have on the team.

This is good for the Sixers. The Evan Turner trade pipedream was never meant to be, especially if all that would return was Dion Waiters. The Cavaliers will get better, which is important for our draft odds. The Bulls will get worse, but Tom Thibodeau will play for wins so long as he's coaching, so they also should finish with a superior record to the Sixers.

As for how it affects the team in tonight's game? Well, Deng won't play tonight - the trade call will probably go in today, and then there's passing the physical - not exactly a guarantee considering Deng's injury history - and finally not knowing the team's plays. Instead, the Sixers will get a shell of the real Cavaliers roster if Kyrie Irving remains out with his knee injury. The Sixers, once thought to be a shell of an NBA team, likely have more talent than the Cavaliers without Irving. Please be healthy, Kyrie.

Go visit the wonderful Fear The Sword for more on the Deng trade and tonight's game. I'm sure they have opinions.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Liberty Ballers

You must be a member of Liberty Ballers to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Liberty Ballers. You should read them.

Join Liberty Ballers

You must be a member of Liberty Ballers to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Liberty Ballers. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker