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Cavaliers, Deng struggling since trade with Bulls

Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah left embraces ClevelCavaliers' Luol Deng Sudan after Bulls' 98-87 wan NBA basketball game Wednesday Jan. 22

Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah, left, embraces Cleveland Cavaliers' Luol Deng, of Sudan, after the Bulls' 98-87 win in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in Cleveland. Deng was traded from Chicago to Cleveland in early January. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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Updated: March 8, 2014 6:40AM



OAKLAND, Calif. — The mess that is the Cleveland Cavaliers got dirtier on Thursday with news that general manager Chris Grant was fired.

Former Bulls veteran Luol Deng was sent to Cleveland last month, expected to play savior to a sinking team. It hasn’t exactly worked out, with the forward averaging 15.3 points and a career-low 5.0 rebounds per game and the Cavs going 4-10 since Deng was acquired.

“Sometimes rebuilding can be tough. A lot tougher than people realize,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s unfortunate, but Luol is a tough-minded guy. He’ll get through it.’’

Former teammate Jimmy Butler admits he hasn’t paid much attention to the Cavs and Deng since he left, but he did notice Wednesday night’s Cavs loss to the Lakers, who had to finish the game with only four eligible players.

“Technically, they didn’t have four guys, they had five guys,’’ Butler said. “But, yeah, they had four, and that’s a tough way to lose.

“We feel like Lu’s our guy. But for the most part, we have to worry about the Chicago Bulls.’’

Looking to add

The Bulls roster still is at 12, including Derrick Rose (right knee), who is out for the season. So when asked about his preference in adding to the roster, Thibodeau jokingly replied, “a player.’’

“Hey, look, here’s the thing, honestly I would like to have all 15, but right now it’s not possible,” Thibodeau said.

“A lot of it is based on who is playing well, who is available. We’ll make a decision once we get there.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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