The Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly had recent talks about swapping big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne. The Cavaliers tried to acquire Gasol last summer and have also explored the possibility of a trade with the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng, via ESPN.com:
The Cavs have been after Gasol since this past summer, when they had extensive discussions with the Lakers, sources said. Those talks ended when Dwight Howard signed with the Houston Rockets. The Cavs, who have been struggling, are looking to upgrade their roster as they attempt to end a three-year playoff drought.
The Cavs also have had separate discussions with the Chicago Bulls on a Bynum trade for Luol Deng, according to sources. The Bulls are in a similar position as the Lakers, about $8 million into the luxury tax and dealing with an injury-marred season.
Since Gasol is on the hook for $19.2 million this season and Bynum's contract is for $12 million, Cleveland would have to include at least one more player in the deal. Only $6 million of Bynum's deal is guaranteed this season if he is waived by Jan. 7, and that would be the Lakers' incentive here. They could save more than $20 million when you factor in the luxury tax if they go this route, but they are reportedly looking to get assets in return for Gasol if they do trade him and are not completely committed to moving the big man.
Bynum was suspended by the Cavaliers on Saturday for conduct detrimental to the team. He has been excused indefinitely from games and practices and the team is trying to move him before Jan. 7. In 19 games with the Cavaliers, he averaged 8.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.2 blocks in 20 minutes per game. In November, he told reporters he had considered retirement due to his bad knees and he was trying to rediscover his joy for the game.
Gasol has had an up-and-down season with the Lakers, but can clearly still contribute. He is averaging 14.7 points, 9.4 rebounds 3.1 assists and 1.3 blocks in 30 minutes per game.