Late this morning, sources close to the situation downplayed rumors of a trade that would send Pau Gasol to the Cleveland Cavaliers, returning Andrew Bynum to the Lakers roster.
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported just moments ago:
"...the Lakers would want more value for Gasol in a trade and, additionally, that it would be a stretch for the Lakers to reacquire Bynum, who is indefinitely suspended by the Cavaliers for conduct detrimental to the team."
Notice what was not included in the quote above? A denial, that is what is missing.
Instead, the person familiar with the talks stressed the necessity of getting more in return for sending Gasol out of Los Angeles. Draft pick? Perhaps.
To answer the burning question of why the Lakers would want the problem man-child named Andrew Bynum back in purple and gold, is that they don't.
The team, according to the NBA analysts who have buzzed all morning about this news, would waive Bynum, leaving him available as a pickup in the free agent market.
Then why would they get rid of the Spaniard who lifted Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to three straight NBA Finals appearances and back-to-back titles? It's all about the money.
What the basketball world and Lakers fans are not accustomed to thinking about is how much the team pays for its roster as well as the heavy luxury tax on its over-the-cap salaries.It's a new world people.
Pau's $19 million would come off the books, as it would at the end of this season anyway, but the team might get a key asset in return.
If the trade goes through and Bynum is waived prior to January 7 the Lakers would owe their former center $6 million and nothing more.
The team would be clean for next year except for, and it is a big exception, Kobe's $24 million, the final year of Steve Nash's deal (yes he still is on the roster) and a small amount for a couple of the many pieces they picked up in the off season.
Things have fallen so far for Pau Gasol and Lakers fans that despite him sounding sick as a dog with what has been been described as bronchitis, no one thinks he should take a night off, nevermind play poorly.
D'Antoni doesn't care if he's in the lineup or not, unless Pau follows the flow of the offense. It gets him fewer touches in the post but, that's been the case since Mike Brown took over two years ago.
Is it time to say goodbye to Kobe's best buddy? It looks like it is.