The Los Angeles Lakers have discussed trading Pau Gasol to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum according to Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.
On the surface, the move seems surprising since Gasol is still a productive player and there are reports that Bynum is no longer interested in playing basketball. But the trade would actually be a genius move that would save the Lakers more than $US20 million in salary and luxury taxes.
The second-half of Bynum’s salary for this season, as well as his salary for the 2014-15 season are only guaranteed if he is still on a roster on January 7. So, if the trade is made before January 7, the Lakers can just cut Bynum and not have to pay the $US18.7 million remaining on his contract.
In addition, by trading Gasol, who will be a free agent after the season, the Lakers would no longer be responsible for the nearly $US10 million remaining on his contract. The reduction in payroll would also mean the Lakers would save millions in luxury taxes.
The move makes sense for the Lakers because they are unlikely to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Cavs want to trade Bynum who has been suspended and is unlikely to play for the team again. In return, the Cavs would get an all-star center and make a run for the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference where they are just 2.5 games behind the eighth seed despite being just 10-20.
One thing holding up the deal is that the Lakers want other players included in the deal. But at this point it would seem the deal makes too much sense for both sides to not get a deal done.
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