Ever since being suspended indefinitely by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Andrew Bynum’s name has been talked about a lot in trade rumors. The Cavs have been linked to several teams regarding Bynum, including the Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers. The Cavs have until January 7 to do something with Bynum to prevent paying him the remaining $6.3 million on his contract. If the Cavs aren’t able to trade Bynum by Tuesday, they will need to decide whether to cut him or keep him around and pay him to sit on his couch.
Some potential trades that have been discussed involving Bynum include: sending him to the Bulls for Luol Deng, to the Jazz for Richard Jefferson or to the Lakers for Pau Gasol. Obviously the two most intriguing trades are the Bulls and Lakers trades. Acquiring Jefferson is a move the Cavs would make just to make a move. Acquiring Gasol or Deng would actually improve the team.
The question is why the Lakers would want to move Gasol to acquire Bynum. Bynum clearly has little interest in continuing playing basketball. He has legitimate health concerns, and he looked awful in his limited games with the Cavs in 2013. The Lakers could send the Gasol to the Cavs, ridding themselves of his massive contract, while having the option to cut Bynum immediately after acquiring him without having to pay the disgruntled center a penny.
Gasol is a shell of his former self, but the Cavs need help badly. While he isn’t quite the impact player he once was, Gasol would certainly still help the Cavs. In an extremely weak Eastern Conference where fewer than a handful of teams have even a .500 record, the opportunity is there for this weak Cavs team to make the playoffs.
The Cavs set a deadline of Monday, January 6 to make a decision on Bynum, but Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that they want to get something done by Sunday, to give the teams plenty of times to get their respective physicals done.
The Cavs have talent on their roster — it is full of recent top-ten draft picks — but they don’t seem to play well together. The roster clearly needs some sort of a shake up, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.