Bynum’s contract becomes fully guaranteed Tuesday afternoon at 5:00pm EST, so there is still time to complete a deal, but all parties involved would like such a transaction to happen sooner rather than later to allow time for everything to clear. Sometimes that process can take up to 48 hours.
And as time continues to run out, there is still very little that we know for sure. You’ll gain that much from Cavaliers insider Sam Amico’s recent tweet:
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) January 6, 2014
While all the excitement surrounding this deal, which has captured our attention for the majority of the last two weeks is great, ESPN’s Bill Simmons believes that if a deal is not completed tonight, the Cavs will end up waiving Bynum on Tuesday, putting him on the open market.
Hearing the Cavs plan on waiving Bynum to save 6m barring a last-second miracle offer tonight. They can’t get anything half-decent for him.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 6, 2014
A deal is still more than possible, though. The Cavaliers have just finished up a home game against the Indiana Pacers in which it was reported that Cavs’ GM, Chris Grant, and the majority of the front office, were not sitting in their usual seats and were behind closed doors. Take that for what it’s worth, but it has led Amico to believe that talks have entered a serious stage.
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) January 5, 2014
While there are several different depictions of what is going on behind closed doors, it is largely believed that Cleveland and LA are trying to strike a deal centering around Bynum and Gasol. The problem is that LA is holding firm that an asset of value (a 1st round draft pick or a young talent such as Dion Waiters) must be included.
Sources said the Cavs are trying to get a trade finalized by the evening. The proposed deal would send Bynum’s contract to the Lakers for Gasol. The Cavs would have to include another player for salary-cap purposes, and that is where the talks get sticky, sources indicated.
Despite what Mitch Kupchak believes, neither scenario is realistic, especially when dealing with the Chris Grant and the Cavaliers. While Waiters has shouldered his fair share of criticism since being selected No. 4 overall last year by Cleveland, he has been lighting it up off the bench this season. He’s averaging 15.3 points a game on the season on 38 percent shooting from deep and over 16 a game since he moved to the bench early in the season, embracing his “super-sub” role.
Because he and Kyrie Irving have not shown the ability to play well together, other GM’s around the league believe he is “available,” but unless Cleveland is getting back a second star in the deal (and Pau Gasol is no longer that), they are not giving up on Waiters.
So by process of elimination, it does not appear Cleveland and LA will be able to shake this stalemate unless a third team becomes involved, or Cleveland decides to send Bynum to Utah in exchange or Richard Jefferson. This seems to be plan B.
Will Kupchak or Grant blink first? That much is yet to be determined. Both parties seem to believe they are negotiating from a position of leverage, and in ways, they are.
The Grizzlies, Thunder and Bulls have also been mentioned in various reports, but none seem to carry much weight at this particular moment.
While time is running out on one of these deals, don’t rule out the possibility that Cleveland holds on to Bynum, swallowing the $6 million and dangling him at the trade deadline in February or before the NBA Draft in June.
Would you put it past Dan Gilbert to pay Bynum to stay home over letting him help Miami win a third straight NBA championship?
Not one bit.