With deadline looming, Cavs near Bynum deal, sources say
CLEVELAND — With time running out and the Cavaliers needing to reach a decision on what to do with center Andrew Bynum, it appears they are nearing a deal, sources told FOX Sports Ohio late Monday.
With whom and for what, however, remains murky.
Sources familiar with ongoing trade talks could only say the Cavs are close to pulling off a deal, and that the the deal involves Bynum — or more accurately, Bynum’s contract.
The Cavs must waive or trade Bynum by 5 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday to avoid paying his full $12.25 million salary. If a move is made before then, the Cavs pay just half.
The majority of their discussions have involved the Los Angeles Lakers and been centered on big man Pau Gasol, sources said.
According to sources, negotiations have both intensified and cooled repeatedly during the past week, with the teams unable to strike a deal.
The Lakers, sources said, are seeking another asset along with Bynum — who the Lakers would immediately waive for relief under the salary cap.
The Lakers have made pitches for Cavs guard Dion Waiters, center/forward Anderson Varejao, center Tyler Zeller and a first-round draft pick, only to be shot down by Cavs general manager Chris Grant each time, sources said.
It is also believed the Lakers offered to swap first-round draft picks with the Cavs.
The Lakers’ position appears to be that unless Grant agrees to one of the aforementioned options, they will postpone a decision on Gasol, sources said. The NBA trading deadline is in February, and LA could possibly wait to make a move at that time.
Meanwhile, the Cavs view the potential deal as if they are doing the Lakers a favor, sources said, by providing LA with some relief under the salary cap. In turn, the Cavs would receive a player in Gasol who would help them make a playoff push and serve as a potential trade chip.
It is also possible that a deal involving Bynum does not include the Lakers, or perhaps a third team to help facilitate a deal, sources said.
Bynum, 26, was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team last week. He has since been excused from team activities.