At this point, the game of cat and mouse that the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers are playing is growing old.
That’s because the much talked about deal that would send Andrew Bynum back to the Lakers and Pau Gasol to Cleveland has once again stalled.
With a Monday deadline (assuming the team that trades for Bynum plans on waiving him), a deal is beginning to seem very unlikely, according to sources close to the talks.
Though the discussions have been varied and both sides considered numerous possibilities, the central issue never wavered, sources said.
The Lakers wanted more than just salary savings that trading for Bynum and waiving him would bring, primarily a young player or valuable draft pick. Trading for and cutting Bynum had the potential to save the Lakers more than $20 million in salary and luxury taxes. The Cavs, who stood to add millions to their own payroll with the deal, have resisted meeting the price because Gasol will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The Lakers just seem to want too much and the Cavs just won’t budge on giving up any additional key pieces (such as a first round pick, Anthony Bennett, Dion Waiters or Anderson Varejao).
Cleveland could very well turn the other way and send Bynum to the Utah Jazz for veteran swingman Richard Jefferson, which has already been rumored, but again whoever trades for Bynum would more than likely want to waive him by January 7 th to avoid having to pay him the $6.2 million left on this season’s contract.
Either way, no matter who trades for Bynum, he’ll be cut pretty soon. Then again, the Cavaliers could just go ahead and simply waive Bynum without having to find a trade partner. However, if Bynum is getting traded, it’s going to happen some time today.
Now we wait. Again.