After the Cleveland Cavaliers announced last weekend that they had suspended center Andrew Bynum indefinitely for conduct determinant to the team, the Cavaliers are now exploring options to trade the big man.
In the deal with the Lakers, the Cavs would be seeking Pau Gasol in return for Bynum (though more pieces must be added to make the deal work). This would bring a skilled big man who brings more championship experience – and a better attitude – back to Cleveland and allow them to part ways with the failed Bynum project.
For Los Angeles, it would allow them to save more than $20 million is salary and luxury taxes by cutting Bynum before the January 7 deadline. The Lakers are a proud franchise and doing this would essentially admit that they are willing to let this season go in order to rebuild for the future. Injuries have hurt L.A. badly this season on a roster that was already a question mark to make the playoffs.
New NBA rules, that began in the 2011-12 season, state that teams over the luxury tax line (essentially a soft salary cap mark) for four of five years will be considered repeat offenders and will have to pay additional penalties. Though the Lakers have plenty of money, they would like to avoid this and return to championship caliber as quickly and easily as possible.
The other move would see the Bulls sending Luol Deng to Cleveland in return for Bynum. This would allow Chicago similar flexibility by cutting Bynum as the L.A. deal, as the Bulls are also over the luxury tax line.
From the Cleveland perspective, either deal makes sense. They get a good player in return for one who will not play for them again. Both players would seemingly fit into the Cavaliers' system ( head coach Mike Brown has already coached Gasol), but the snag would be getting the other teams to make the deal.
The Lakers would have to decide this is the best move for their future and not want to wait to get healthy and try and make a run with their current roster. The Bulls would have to be willing to part ways with Deng, something they insist they do not want to do.
Stay tuned for more details as things progress.
- What Has Been Hurting Andrew Bynum?
- Andrew Bynum Showing Promise for Cleveland Cavaliers
- Andrew Bynum Says He Will “Definitely” Play for the Cleveland Cavaliers
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