UPDATE: Jan. 5 at 2:15 pm EST by Ethan Norof
The Lakers and Cavs continue to dance around the idea of a deal, but there is still a significant gap to close between the two sides for a trade to be consummated.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
--End of update--
UPDATE: Jan. 4 at 11:50 pm EST by Adam Fromal
Let's not give up on this deal too quickly.
According to a report from ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne, the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers have re-engaged in discussions about sending Andrew Bynum to the West Coast and Pau Gasol back East.
The deadline for a deal is looming in the not-so-distant horizon, per the two reporters: "The Cavaliers want to execute a trade by Sunday so it can be completed ahead of Tuesday's deadline for Bynum's contract to become fully guaranteed, sources said. Trades need 48 hours to be finalized so players can have physicals."
Despite the Lakers' initial hesitance to pull the trigger without more assets coming from Cleveland, it appears we're back on track. That said, there's still no indication whether it's Cleveland or L.A. that is being forced to cave on that issue.
With a Sunday deadline, there's no doubt we'll have a resolution soon.
--End of update--
A match made in heaven is receiving some serious interference, as the Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum trade talks between the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers are grinding to a halt.
In theory, this swap makes perfect sense.
The Cavs are able to land a big-name center/power forward who can help push them over the top, getting them back into the playoff picture in the weakening-by-the-day Eastern Conference. And if Gasol doesn't work out in a Cleveland uniform, he's only on the books through the end of the 2013-14 season.
By acquiring Bynum, the Lakers have the ability to waive the big man, freeing themselves of his non-guaranteed contract and dropping below the luxury-tax threshold. It's a move that would both allow them to save upwards of $20 million this season and go into the tax without drawing the dreaded repeater's tax next year.
However, ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne report that problems are popping up:
The major issue, sources said, involves the Lakers' desire to get an additional asset from the Cavs beyond Bynum's team-friendly contract, which could save the Lakers more than $20 million in salary and luxury taxes. The Lakers are interested in also getting a young prospect or first-round draft pick as part of the deal. The Cavs have been reluctant to part with either.
It's understandable from Cleveland's perspective.
Gasol has not been at his best this season—15.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game on 44.3 percent shooting—and there's no guarantee he actually helps out his potential new team before leaving in free agency next summer. It's not like the Cavs are making a rental that turns a championship dream into a realistic goal, so why give up another asset?
It's less understandable from the Lakers' perspective.
Not only are they essentially gaining an asset by weakening their team and making it easier to tank without really tanking, but they're cutting costs and opening up the possibility for future expenditures. As B/R's Dan Favale wrote, they need to "surrender to reality," and trading Gasol lets them do so.
That's why if anyone is going to cave during these negotiations, it'll be the L.A.-based franchise.
Regardless, this deal isn't going as smoothly as it should.