"On the surface, the move looked like a classic sign that the Bulls were going to tank the rest of the season while also saving nearly $15 million in salary and luxury tax fees.
But then something strange happened. The Bulls suddenly became one of the best teams in the NBA and now have to be considered a contender in what originally appeared to be a two-team race in the Eastern Conference between the Pacers and Heat.
Since trading Deng, a player who was averaging 19.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game with Chicago, the Bulls are 19-9. The Pacers and Heat are both 20-8 over the same span.
The Bulls were able to overcome the loss of Deng the old fashioned way. They had their top players pick up the slack.