Luol Deng's immediate future changed the moment Derrick Rose's knee buckled in Portland last week, and now the rumors are beginning to swirl.
ESPN.com's Chris Broussard tweeted earlier Wednesday that the Cleveland Cavaliers have spoken with three teams about a potential trade involving shooting guard Dion Waiters, and that the Bulls were one of those teams. Broussard said that the Cavaliers' interest is in Deng, as well as Philadelphia's Evan Turner and New York's Iman Shumpert.
Sources: Cavs shopping Dion Waiters. They've spoken w/Chi, NYK & Philly. No deal imminent. Waiters is open to being traded.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 27, 2013
Sources: Cavs' targets 4 Waiters - Shumpert (NYK), Deng (Chi), Evan Turner (Philly)— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 27, 2013
Broussard noted that a trade is not imminent, and there's nothing to indicate that the Bulls have any interest in trading the two-time All-Star Deng, even with Derrick Rose set to miss the rest of the regular season. Earlier in the day Deng said he was trying to tune out potential trade rumors, calling them distractions as the Bulls look to snap a four-game skid.
And a one-for-one swap of Waiters and Deng isn't possible due to salary differences. Waiters, in his second season, is making $3.9 million, whereas Deng is making $13.3 million in his final year of his current contract. The Cavaliers would need to include more than $9 million to make the trade work. ESPN's Trade Machine allows you to test players in trade scenarios.
Waiters finished third in Rookie of the Year voting last season, but has struggled to the tune of 13 points on 39 percent shooting in Year 2. Last week the Cavaliers held a players-only meeting and Waiters reportedly got into a confrontation with power forward Tristan Thompson.