If the Los Angeles Lakers trade Pau Gasol to the Cleveland Cavaliers, this season is officially over.
Before any fans make too much about Bynum’s return to Los Angeles, the Lakers would only take on Bynum to waive him prior to Jan. 7. This trade would help the Lakers shed about $20 million in salary and luxury tax, so financially, it makes sense. Also, LA would no longer be over the salary cap, so avoiding the repeater tax penalty would become a possibility.
A straight swap for Bynum alone would not work, so another piece would need to be added. Although the Lakers would welcome the extra money and financial standing, LA would likely only be interested in making this type of move if a draft pick or useful player was included in the deal.
Essentially, the Lakers would be committing to tanking the season. Sure, the Lakers have Chris Kaman begging to step in and play more minutes, but the Lakers would be a massive long shot to make the post season or even be involved in the race. Unfortunately, Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill playing more minutes would not deter that reality.
Speaking of reality, the Lakers are currently five games below .500 and face 10 of the next 14 games on the road. Expecting the Lakers to gain ground in the playoffs race considering the injuries, illnesses and upcoming schedule may be a long shot any way.
Whether or not the Lakers latch onto the Bynum trade remains to be seen, but looking ahead, it is hard to envision the Lakers finishing the season with a winning record or with Gasol still playing in Los Angeles. This latest trade talk simply brings those realities to the surface.