Cleveland Cavaliers Can't Trade Andrew Bynum Straight Up for Pau Gasol

Joe Flynn@@ChinaJoeFlynnContributor IJanuary 5, 2014

A trade of Pau Gasol for Andrew Bynum, which ESPNLA 710 Radio reported in a since deleted tweet, can't occur with just those two players.

Per ESPN's Marc Stein.

Per the rules of the latest collective bargaining agreement, a straight-up Bynum-for-Gasol swap won't work because Gasol's salary is more than $5 million higher than Bynum's. The Cavaliers would have to add more salary to make it work, and that means another player.

The Cavaliers could add multiple players to make up the difference, but if they only want to include one player, they'd need to include one of the following.

  • Anderson Varejao
  • Jarrett Jack
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Anthony Bennett
  • Earl Clark
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Dion Waiters
  • Alonzo Gee
  • C.J. Miles

Some of those players might work for Cleveland, and others (Irving) will clearly not.

The Lakers are interested in acquiring Bynum, so they can save $20 million in salary and luxury tax, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne.  In what is shaping up to be a lost season, it makes sense for Los Angeles to shed salary and perhaps get a little worse in order to gain a few combinations for the 2014 draft lottery.

If Los Angeles is intent on getting real talent back from Cleveland, however, this trade has the potential to spiral out of control. Gasol is not the catch he used to be.

According to Basketball Reference, Gasol is currently sporting the lowest Win Shares Per 48 Minute rating and the second-lowest Player Efficiency Rating of his 13-year career. Furthermore, he is just months away from becoming a free agent. There's no guarantee that he will help Cleveland reach the playoffs.

The Lakers should be careful not to get too greedy, or they might miss a chance to clear some serious money off their books.

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