• Michael Jarecki/Sun-Times Media
  • Luol Deng is heading to Cleveland. In return, the Bulls will eventually wind up with . . . someone.

Pro basketball is a complicated sport, and I’m not talking about the three-second violation or the two kinds of flagrant fouls.

Late last night, the Bulls traded all-star forward Luol Deng to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum and three draft picks. Bynum, 26, is a seven-foot, 285-pound center, talented but often injured. At this writing, Bynum’s career with the Bulls is in its twilight: the team is expected to drop him by 4 PM. Bynum, in other words, is the player-to-be-waived-sooner.

Why did the Bulls trade for a player they intended to dump? In order to get the highly sought Cap Room.

Cap Room cannot jump and has never nailed a three-pointer, but is always in great demand, especially among teams like the Bulls, whose best days are in the past and possibly the future. Cap Room refers to the NBA’s salary cap, which is designed to promote parity in the league and save the owners money. The current cap is $58.679 million. In some instances—it’s complicated—a team exceeding the cap pays a “luxury tax” to the other teams.

Cap Room should eventually allow the Bulls to sign another star they actually intend to keep. With Cap Room and the three draft picks, the Bulls should be going places in about 2016, when Derrick Rose begins his fifth comeback.

The draft picks make sense for the Bulls, but they’re also convoluted. As Joe Cowley explains in the Sun-Times:

The Bulls landed Cleveland’s right to the Sacramento King’s [sic] first round draft pick conveyed in a June 30, 2011 deal, the right for Chicago to swap its own 2015 first round draft pick with the Cavs [sic] own 2015 first round draft pick (only in the case that the Cleveland 2015 first round draft pick is between 15 and 30), and the Portland Trail Blazer’s [sic] 2015 and 2016 second round draft picks acquired from the Trail Blazers via a 2013 draft night trade.

Got that? Me too.

I like the trade. Now Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who also owns the White Sox, should find some clandestine NBA clause allowing him to send Adam Dunn to the Cavs to set picks for Deng.

UPDATE—3:40 PM: The Bulls just announced that Bynum has been waived, ending his career with the team at about 12 hours.