CLEVELAND -- LeBron James bid farewell to a dear friend Thursday, then began revving his engines for the stretch run of the season.
James fell one rebound and one assist shy of his second triple-double in his last three games on the same day the Cavaliers traded away center Anderson Varejao and received forward-center Channing Frye.
The Bulls were active as well, striking a deal prior to Thursday's trade deadline even though it wasn't the one expected. Pau Gasol remained in Chicago beyond the deadline while the Bulls traded away Kirk Hinrich in a cost-saving move.
James and Varejao were teammates for 7 1/2 seasons spanning James' two stints in Cleveland. Only Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a teammate to James longer. Those two played eight years together before Ilgauskas retired following one season together in Miami.
"That's the worst part of the business right there, when you lose a brother, lose a teammate," James said. "That's the worst part about it."
Derrick Rose scored 28 points and Gasol scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds after days of speculation over whether he would be dealt.
The Bulls sent Hinrich to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for shooting guard Justin Holiday and a second-round pick. The move cut nearly $3 million off the Bulls' luxury tax bill while opening up a roster spot.
Gasol, however, correctly predicted Thursday morning he wasn't going to get traded after he met with Bulls management Wednesday. He said the Bulls are in the lead to re-sign him this summer when he can become a free agent.
"This is where I wanted to be and where I want to be right now," Gasol said. "I don't want to give up on this team just because we're going through some difficulties and challenges right now."
The Cavaliers acquired Frye, 32, earlier in the day from the Orlando Magic in a three-team deal that also sent Jared Cunningham to the Magic in a cash dump. Cleveland sent a protected 2018 first-round pick to the Blazers for absorbing the remaining money on Varejao's deal. The Blazers have already placed Varejao on waivers.
Frye averaged 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds for the Magic and is another stretch-4 who is shooting 40 percent from 3-point range this season. He's a 39-percent shooter from deep in his career.
Cleveland general manager David Griffin has liked Frye since their time together in Phoenix. He tried signing Frye two years ago when he was a free agent and even said Thursday the two sides had a deal in place, but the Cavs couldn't make the money work because of the cap space they were protecting in hopes of luring James back to Cleveland -- which they did. So Griffin traded for Frye instead.
"We envision he's going to be a complementary piece," Griffin said. "His value to us both in Phoenix in the playoffs and on every team he has been on has been greater than people have anticipated and we hope that continues."
Frye could be in Cleveland as early as Friday and is expected to debut for the Cavaliers on Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Cleveland built a 17-point lead in the first half before giving most of it back. James' soaring dunk to cap a lob from J.R. Smith pushed the lead back to 65-48 in the third. James has maintained throughout his career he is a second-half player and indicated again Thursday he's beginning to accelerate now in preparation for the playoffs.
"I want to continue to do the speed limit. I don't want to get a ticket," James joked. "But I've always kind of hit the switch at the start of the second half of the season. I'm a 13-year vet, I'm not about to burn out for 82 games. I'm smarter than that. I know what my body does, I know when it gets into form. And I feel really good right now."
NOTES: Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg on G Kirk Hinrich: "He's a great teammate and he's done some wonderful things for this franchise, but at the same time, it's a business." The Bulls sliced nearly $3 million off their tax bill by trading Hinrich. ... Cavaliers GM David Griffin said telling C Anderson Varejao he had been traded was one of his toughest calls to make: "I think he exemplified everything we want a Cavalier to be about." Varejao had spent his entire 12-year career with the Cavaliers and was the longest tenured athlete in the city. ... G Matthew Dellavedova had seven points in 17 minutes Thursday after missing the final five games prior to the All-Star break with a hamstring injury.