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Tuesday, January 7th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (20-12) at Chicago Bulls (14-18), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls made a headline move going into Tuesday's meeting with the Phoenix Suns at the United Center.
The Bulls dealt forward Luol Deng and his contract to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for center Andrew Bynum and three future draft picks. The Cavs also sent Chicago the Sacramento Kings' first-round draft pick from a previous deal, the right for Chicago to swap its own 2015 first-round draft pick with Cleveland's, and Portland's 2015 and 2016 second-round draft picks acquired from the Trail Blazers in a 2013 draft-night trade.
"We have great respect for Luol Deng, as a player and a person. He has been an incredible contributor to our team on the court, and he has also done great things in the community," said Bulls general manager Gar Forman. "On behalf of the entire Bulls organization, I want to thank Luol for his years in Chicago."
Deng, a two-time All-Star, averaged 19.0 points and 6.9 rebounds over 23 games for the Bulls this season.
Bynum was suspended indefinitely with pay by the Cavs on Dec. 28 for conduct detrimental to the team. He has played in just 24 games since his breakout campaign in 2011-12, when he averaged 18.7 points and 11.4 boards. Since then, the 7-footer has scored just 8.4 points and pulled down 5.3 rebounds per contest, all this season.
Bynum missed the entire 2012-13 campaign with knee issues and is expected to be waived by the Bulls.
Chicago will close out a four-game homestand (2-1) and won its fifth game in seven tries with Saturday's 91-84 defeat of the Atlanta Hawks. Mike Dunleavy scored 20 points off the bench and Deng added 17 and 11 rebounds.
"We fought hard tonight. It wasn't pretty, but we just found a way. Some nights it is just going to be that way. Sometimes we are going to have to dig deep and make it grimy, I think we did a good job," said Bulls big man Joakim Noah, who tallied 10 points and 12 boards.
The Bulls are 9-7 at the United Center and will visit Milwaukee on Friday. In injury news for the Bulls, forward Carlos Boozer (knee) is questionable versus the Suns and is averaging 14.7 points and 8.6 rebounds.
Chicago is last in scoring this season, averaging just 91.3 points per game, but is second in opponents' scoring at 92.2 ppg. Only Indiana is better on defense, holding the opposition to 88.6 ppg.
Phoenix will begin a five-game road trip Tuesday against Chicago, Minnesota, Memphis, Detroit and New York, and is 8-7 outside the desert this season.
The Suns have won three of four overall and 11 of 14 games, including Friday's 116-100 triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks at US Airways Center. Gerald Green scored 24 points and Channing Frye added 22. Goran Dragic finished with 15 points and six assists and Markieff Morris posted 14 points for the Suns, who racked up 38 points on 26 Milwaukee turnovers and notched their first wire-to- wire win.
"We built the lead up and got it to 20 at one point because we didn't let those guys run their stuff. Then when we sat back and let them run their stuff then they got shots and they got guys that can shoot the ball," said Suns coach Jeff Hornacek.
The Suns, who are averaging 107.0 ppg in the last 14 games and are 17-4 when scoring 100 or more points, only turned the ball over 11 times, leading to just seven Bucks' points.
Phoenix will face Chicago for the first time since splitting a pair of games last season. The Bulls have won seven of nine matchups with the Suns.
01/07 10:39:09 ET
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