The Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers have had discussions on a trade that would involve Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, league sources told ESPN.com.
No deal is believed to be imminent, but both sides are mulling it over ahead of a Jan. 7 deadline when the second half of Bynum's $12.25 million salary would be guaranteed. The Cavs suspended Bynum for one game this weekend for conduct detrimental to the team and have excused him indefinitely from all activities, including games.
By trading Gasol in a package for Bynum and then waiving him, the injury-ravaged Lakers could save more than $20 million in salaries and luxury taxes, which could help them maintain financial flexibility heading into the next few summers. A Gasol-Bynum trade would have to include at least one other player and perhaps other assets from Cleveland.
More on the Lakers
For more news, notes and analysis of the Lakers, check out the Lakers Index. Blog
The Lakers are reluctant to part with the four-time All-Star in any trade without receiving assets of some value in return, sources said.
The Lakers have been luxury-tax payers for six straight seasons. While the luxury-tax savings this season -- and ability to avoid the repeater tax penalty that kicks in when a team is a taxpayer in four out of five years starting with the 2011-12 season -- would undoubtedly help the Lakers' long-term flexibility, the franchise's history and organizational culture make that a difficult prospect to consider.
There remains a strong organizational sentiment to continue to give the current group time to get healthy and resurrect its season before making any major moves, sources said.