What seemed like an inevitability a day before turned into nonsense shortly after, as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t agree on a deal that will end up being a trade of Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum and other players or parts.
Is there still time to make it happen? Yes, and there’s a chance that the Cavs eventually fold. However, they’re now considering other offers for Bynum, specifically from the Utah Jazz who are offering Richard Jefferson.
What went wrong? The Cavs are desperate to get a deal done before Bynum’s deal becomes guaranteed, and from a $6 million salary it turns into a $12.3 million one. The idea was trading him before the deadline to another team, who can choose to either release him (most likely) or keep him for $6.3 million.
The Los Angeles Lakers have given up on this season, but not on the immediate future. Sending Pau Gasol can still happen in the next two months, but they wanted to get something more than just a salary dump that takes about $20 million off salary and luxury taxes. Bynum would be released, but the Lakers wanted a young piece for the future – Dion Waiters, or a first round draft pick. The Cavs want to win now, but they aren’t foolish to think that a playoff spot this season is guaranteed.
Bynum himself, one way or another, is going to become a free agent. He might lose money, but it seems that behind his unhappy mask is simply a guy who is disappointed by playing for a losing team. Now, he gets the chance for everyone to court him, and rumors suggest that either the Miami Heat or the Los Angeles Clippers will make a move for him once he becomes available, giving him the opportunity once again to play for a contender.
As for the Lakers? While this Cavs-Gasol deal can still happen, they might be slowly moving away from it. Expiring deals aren’t worthy that much these days to teams because of the new CBA rules, and Gasol is difficult to move, not to mention get a promising player or pick out of it. He may just keep on playing for the Lakers while until his deal expires, hitting free agency and leaving them with only two players signed on for the future, and not a lot of wiggle room to add meaningful pieces.