Bynum, 26, averaged 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 20 minutes per game over 24 appearances for Cleveland this season. He signed a two-year, $24.8 million contract with the Cavaliers in July, but his $12.6 million 2014-15 salary was non-guaranteed and his $12.3 million salary for 2013-14 was only partially guaranteed.
By waiving Bynum this week, Chicago avoids paying him $6.3 million, the remaining non-guaranteed portion of his contract, and moves below the luxury-tax line. Deng was on the books for $14.3 million this season, the final year of his current contract.
“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,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said in a statement announcing the trade.
Bulls executive John Paxson said that the trade will save the Bulls more than $20 million, according to the Chicago Tribune, in addition to netting multiple draft picks.
Bynum, a 2012 All-Star, will become an unrestricted free agent later this week. Recent reports indicated that the Heat and Clippers are interested in potentially signing him, even though his career has been derailed by injuries. Back in November, Bynum told reporters that he had given “serious thought” to retirement because of his ongoing knee issues, which he called “career-threatening” and which already cost him his entire 2012-13 season with Philadelphia. The 2005 lottery pick won two titles with the Lakers before he was traded to the Sixers in 2012 as part of a four-team trade that landed Dwight Howard in Los Angeles. He averaged career-highs of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds in 2011-12, his last season with the Lakers.