The Cleveland Cavaliers are working hard to trade Andrew Bynum before Tuesday's January 7 deadline where Bynum's contract becomes guaranteed. They would like to have the deal in place Sunday so it can be approved by the league before Tuesday, a process that usually takes approximately 48 hours.
The rumored top trade partner is the Los Angeles Lakers in a trade for Pau Gasol, but there are a couple of snags holding up the agreement of this transaction.
First, the Lakers' reason for making this trade would be to get below the luxury tax line. This would be great for them, but they would also have to decide they are prepared to give up on this season. Los Angeles has been hit with the injury bug this season, so there is still a chance they could wait to see how the roster performs when healthy.
If the Lakers do agree to trade Gasol, they would both want and need something other than Bynum in return. They are seeking a young player or draft picks in order to help them rebuild in the future. The Cavaliers likely do not want to give up a future asset, as they are trying to get their team going in the right direction.
While Gasol would be a good piece for this team, he has not played at the all-star level he was three years ago. He is still one of the best passing big men in the league, but is 33 and coming to the end of his career.
No matter what Cleveland wants to do, they will have to add more to the trade. A Gasol-for-Bynum straight swap does not work under the league rules because Gasol's salary is more than $5 million more than Bynum's. This means the Cavs would have to add a player to get within that $5 million leeway.
As Joe Flynn of Bleacher Report points out, the players that would work in this trade – assuming the Cavaliers only want to part with one player – would be Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, Jarrett Jack, Anthony Bennett, Earl Clark, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, or C.J. Miles.
The only player on that list that would seem to be out of the question for Cleveland to part with would be Irving. There would likely have to be more coming back to the Cavs if they were going to give up Varejao, Thompson, or Waiters, as they have all been key contributors.
Los Angeles wants to get younger, but Miles may be acceptable. Miles' contract expires at the season's end, giving them even more cap flexibility in the offseason to acquire a major free agent.
It would be smart for the Lakers to make this move, but they will want to do the best things available.
Other possible suitors to take on Bynum have been the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz among others.
The Cavaliers would love to get the deal done as quickly as possible, as Bynum will not play for the team again and they would like to get something in return for him as opposed to cutting him outright.
Stay tuned to Cavaliers 101 for the latest updates as they occur.
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