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Chicago Bulls Small Forward Luol Deng Isn't Going Anywhere -- Yet

He Will Likely Be Traded, but That Time Isn't Right Now

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Given the fact that Derrick Rose is done for the season, Jimmy Butler is still nursing a turf-toe injury, and Mike James just sprained his MCL, it is somewhat surprising that there aren't more trade rumors involving the Chicago Bulls.

Well, there is one that's, at the very least, intriguing.

ESPN.com's Chris Broussard tweeted that, according to unnamed sources, the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in moving shooting guard Dion Waiters and have an interest in forward Luol Deng.

In theory, the move would help both teams.

The Cavaliers would get a boost in making a playoff run this season. They are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference, but are only three games behind the Charlotte Bobcats in the win column with two fewer games played. Just making the playoffs would give Kyrie Irving some much-need playoff experience as the team continues to improve. In addition, the move would not impact the team's cap space next season when it could make a run at bringing LeBron James back into the fold, according to SportingNews.com.

Meanwhile, the Bulls would get a young, dynamic shooting guard, which is something the team surely misses. Don't let his attitude deceive you, Waiters can play. He is averaging 14.7 points per game, has a 47.4 effective field-goal percentage, and is shooting 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers, according to NBA.com.

Bringing Waiters in would also allow the Bulls to move Butler back to his natural position, small forward. To be sure, Waiters has a tough time on the defensive end, as his 106 defensive rating will attest to, but the impact his arrival would have on the team's overall ability to score would be immense.

Now, while a trade involving Deng and Waiters is attractive, it won't go down because the salaries are too far apart.

As CSNChicago.com correctly noted, "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."

That means that either someone like Andrew Bynum or Anderson Varejao is included in the deal, or the trade becomes so large that six players are changing teams. Now, even if Bynum is waived immediately following this season, he is still guaranteed at least $6 million next year. That is not a commitment Bulls general manger Gar Forman will commit to, and parting with Varejao is likely not part of the plan for the Cavaliers.

Just because a deal for Waiters doesn't appear possible shouldn't preclude the Bulls from trading Deng. In fact, he almost has to be traded. Given the salary situation going into next season, there is little or no chance that he comes back, and to let him walk without any compensation is just bad business.

In addition to contributing to Yahoo, Matthew Smith is the Chicago White Sox Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow his misadventures on Twitter @MatthewSmithBR and on Google +.

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