2:07pm: The Lakers don’t believe the Cavs have many other viable alternatives for Bynum, and feel as if they can afford to wait on a potential deal, says Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. Amico adds that the Lakers are believed to be seeking players whose contracts expire within the “Kobe window” — 2016 (when Kobe Bryant‘s deal ends) or earlier.
10:30am: Trade discussions between the Cavaliers and Lakers about a potential deal centered around Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol have stalled, according to Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. It was that same ESPN duo who first reported earlier in the week that the two teams were talking about a possible swap.
The impasse in negotiations doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no possibility of the Cavs and Lakers working something out, but the deal is no longer progressing. Sources tell Windhorst and Shelburne that the major roadblock involves the Lakers’ desire to land an additional asset in any trade. Besides Bynum, the Lakers want to add a young prospect or a first-round draft pick, and Cleveland is reluctant to part with either.
As we’ve discussed previously, Bynum’s appeal relates to the structure of his contract, which is only partially guaranteed until next week. If the Lakers could acquire a prospect (perhaps Sergey Karasev, Tyler Zeller, or even Dion Waiters) in the swap, it would allow the team to add future talent while cutting payroll and reducing tax penalties. However, it’s extremely unlikely that the Cavs would give up that significant a package to land Gasol, whose contract expires at year’s end — particularly when Kyrie Irving‘s latest injury further complicates Cleveland’s push to earn a postseason berth.
Windhorst and Shelburne report that the Cavs are “actively seeking” other options for Bynum. Earlier this morning, we heard from another ESPN.com scribe, Marc Stein, that Cleveland has called virtually every team in the NBA in the hopes of finding a suitable trade partner. If the Cavs or another team wants to save $6MM+ on Bynum’s salary, he must be released on or before next Tuesday.