The Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers held talks in early January, which would have sent Andrew Bynum and his non-guaranteed contract back to Los Angeles to be immediately waived. However, the Lakers were also believed to have been interested in acquiring a draft pick or young talent from the Cavaliers, which owner Dan Gilbert wouldn’t include.
Now the Suns have entered the picture, but Shelburne doesn’t expect a deal between the two teams to be an easy transaction:
“It’s an interesting trade and I think it’s going to get more interesting.”
If Gasol is traded, the Lakers would likely receive Emeka Okafor, who like Gasol, is in the final year of his contract. As was the case in trade talks with the Cavaliers, Shelburne reiterated the Lakers’ reluctance of simply giving away Gasol.
The reason is the team still would not be below the luxury tax threshold. If Okafor is the centerpiece of the package coming from the Suns, the Lakers would inch closer to getting below the luxury tax threshold, but not below it:
“If they could get all the way under the luxury tax, that would be more compelling.”
Prior to being sidelined by a groin injury for a minimum of a week with a groin injury, Gasol posted double-doubles in 11 of 15 games played in January. With his recent uptick in production, Shelburne stated the Lakers want assets in exchange for Gasol, unless they are able to get under the tax line with one move.
Shelburne believes a third team, perhaps the Utah Jazz, who have multiple draft picks and expiring contracts could enter the fray for Gasol and help facilitate a trade. She also stated the Lakers and Cavaliers haven’t ended trade talks since Bynum was sent to the Chicago Bulls.
Above all else, Shelburne’s point of emphasis was her expectation of the trade to be difficult to complete. Though the Lakers are reportedly taking and placing calls, they are comfortable keeping him.
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