Lakers and Cavs talk Gasol for Bynum, but talks stall
As a result, the team is reportedly looking for trade partners who would b e willing to acquire Bynum, then immediately waive him. For the trade partner, this would be a strict money move, as the team could ship an unwanted salary to Cleveland, then cut Bynum so they wouldn't have to spend any money on him.
Two teams that were mentioned as possible trade partners for the Cavaliers were the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers would reportedly send power forward/center Pau Gasol to Cleveland, while the Bulls would unload small forward Luol Deng. The move would save either team about $20 million in salary and luxury taxes.
The deal with the Lakers seemed to have been picking up the most steam. The Cavaliers lack a true playmaking presence in the low post, and Gasol's points and assists would lead all Cleveland big men. In a shockingly weak Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers feel that acquiring Gasol could help them make a run at the playoffs.
However, the Cavaliers do not want to give up any future assets, such as draft picks or young building blocks. They feel that they would be doing the Lakers enough of a favor by helping them save $20 million. The Lakers, however, are said to want an additional piece along with Bynum in any Gasol trade. They would likely accept a draft pick, or possibly Russian rookie small forward Sergey Karasev, who has some nice potential at the young age of 20. The Cavaliers are reportedly unwilling to give up anything more than Bynum, which has resulted in talks stalling between the two sides.
With the deadline to cut Bynum with no ties attached just four days away, a deal appears unlikely to be made, though that is not to say it is out of the question. If the Cavaliers can't move Bynum by January 7, they could release him outright, or possibly still use him as an asset at the February 20 trade deadline. As of Tuesday, Bynum's contract will be guaranteed for this season, but his 2014-15 salary is not guaranteed until June 30. A team could send an unwanted salary to the Cavaliers at the trade deadline, eat Bynum's salary for half a season, then cut him at the season's conclusion.
Regardless of whether or not Bynum gets traded, it would be surprising to see Bynum in a Cavaliers uniform ever again. It's a disappointing turn of events for Bynum, who was finally able to stay on the court for 20.0 minutes per game, averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. His 41.9% field goal percentage and lack of hustle were discouraging, but a talented player repeatedly plagued by injuries finally staying healthy was nice to see.
The Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers have expressed interest in Bynum if he is released.