There have been plenty of interesting storylines that came to the sports world in 2013. But one of the most surprising might’ve been that which came on the last day of the year. It was announced that the Cavaliers were in talks with the Lakers for a deal that could involve a trade between Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Bynum is in his first year with the Cavs and recently was recently suspended due to conduct that was deemed as detrimental to the team. Before being signed by the Cavs this offseason after recovering from knee surgery, he was with the Lakers and won two championships with them. However, there were times that he played second, and sometimes third, fiddle to Kobe Bryant and Gasol. Gasol, who has been a corner piece of the Lakers for years, has been shopped all season due to his contract and diminishing production in Los Angeles.
A big part of this trade could be the results that come back from a Kyrie Irving MRI that is set to take place on Wednesday. On Tuesday night against the Pacers, Irving left the game in the third quarter and, although returning in the fourth, admitted that he didn’t feel 100% in the final quarter.
Another team that supposedly has interest in a Bynum trade is the Chicago Bulls. That trade would likely include a swap of Bynum and Luol Deng. Both the Bulls and the Lakers are above the salary cap with their contracts with Deng and Gasol, and bringing in Bynum would clear some space.
However, the most ironic part of all of this is the fact that no matter where Bynum ends up, he could quite possibly be immediately waived before January 7th. That would save any team half of Bynum’s contract, rather than the full amount that would be guaranteed if he plays after January 7th. That would also make him a free agent, in which case he could then sign with any team that wants to take a risk on the former All-Star.
It is possible that with the Bulls losing Derrick Rose and the Lakers losing Kobe Bryant, both teams may be looking towards the future. Right now, the 2013-2014 season may be lost hope. But if they can get rid of players that are taking up huge contractual obligations, they could begin planning to rebuild in the coming years.
At the beginning of the year the Lakers, Bulls and even the Cavs were thought to be in the picture of top teams in the NBA. But after injuries to their star players, we could be looking at a serious realignment that comes in 2014. With huge free agents and an amazing draft class that will come at the end of this season, don’t be surprised if the Lakers, Bulls and Cavs all find themselves at the bottom of their respective divisions.