The Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers are rumored to be involved in deep discussions regarding a trade that involves centers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The Cavaliers had previously announced that they would de-activate Bynum and seek for a trade. Since that occurred, a bunch of different teams have been involved in the trade talks.
Bynum and Gasol were teammates until a couple of seasons ago in LA and in fact they won back-to-back championship together. But now, they might get involved in a trade and Gasol could find himself playing for the Cavaliers sooner than later. The Cavs have until January 7 to decide if they will pick up Bynum’s $12.25 contract for this season. There are little chances Cleveland would do something like that.
The 7-footer center signed a two-year $24 million contract during this summer but only $6 million is guaranteed. Up to now in the season, he appeared in 24 games and whilst he wasn’t as dominant as he was during the 2011-2012 season – the last time he was active – he did record solid numbers. Bynum averaged 8.4 points, 5.3 boards and 1.2 blocks per game.
However, many sources close to the situation state that Bynum actually has little motivation of playing basketball. So chances are, even if the Lakers acquire him they will not retain him in their roster. A waive could be imminent. The Lakers, of course, have more than one reasons to proceed in such a trade. First of all, they would get rid of Gasol’s big contract and secondly, if they go on and waive Bynum they will avoid paying a big chunk of the luxury tax. The Lakers could save around $20 million this season and also avoid paying the repeater’s tax next season.
LA will have to decide if they will completely burn this season and focus on the future. With Kobe Bryant still out and due to the declining course the team is currently recording, such a move would make sense. Even if Kobe gets back, the best outcome for the Lakers this season would be a participation in the playoffs.
The latest rumors state that the deal is far from closed. In fact, discussions seem to have stalled at the moment. The reason is that the Lakers would like to acquire another asset apart from the tempting contract of Andrew Bynum. A first-rounder or a young emerging player is what the team desires from the Cavs.
Gasol is currently under-performing. Or in other words his production and his star are fading. He is averaging 15.1 points to go along with 9.2 rebounds and also 3.1 assists per contest up to this point of the season. After a season with several career-lows in 2012-2013, Gasol is continue to not play like he once used to. Maybe the best option for him and the Lakers is to trade him away. However, it’s far from sure that this Bynum deal is the one that best fits the Lakers.