The Cleveland Cavaliers have refused to include Dion Waiters in Andrew Bynum-Pau Gasol trade talks and remain reluctant on sending a future first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Los Angeles could save $20 million-plus on a Gasol-Bynum deal, but the Lakers' insistence on more than salary-cap relief from the Cavaliers – such as Waiters or a draft pick – has been a significant hurdle in discussions.
Cleveland sees Gasol – who will be a free agent in 2014 – as a rental player for the rest of this season and largely wants the Lakers to view the substantial financial savings as motivation to complete the deal, sources said.
Time is running out for the Cavaliers to beat the Tuesday contractual deadline on Bynum's $12 million for the rest of this season. Whether the Cavaliers keep Bynum or trade him, his deal can be bought out for $6 million until Tuesday. After that, the contract becomes fully guaranteed for the season.
The Cavaliers are offering that cost savings to teams around the league in hopes it'll deliver Cleveland back a player to help them make the playoffs this year.
Cleveland has talked to the Utah Jazz about trading Bynum for forward Richard Jefferson, but has yet to re-engage on those talks over the weekend, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Cavaliers are willing to part with a second-round pick in a Bynum-for-Jefferson deal, which Cleveland officials believe is likely enough return to make the transaction worth the Jazz's trouble.
Utah will lose Jefferson without compensation to free agency at season's end, and a pick gives them some value for a player they acquired in a Golden State Warriors salary dump last February.
Cleveland has one of the poorest rosters of small forwards in the league, and Jefferson would give the Cavaliers an upgrade. Jefferson is in the final year of his contract and has played well offensively for the Jazz this season. Utah is committed long-term to a young core of perimeter players.
Jefferson, 33, has played 12 years in the NBA, including stops with the Nets, Bucks, Spurs, Warriors and Jazz.
The Cavaliers signed Bynum to a two-year, $24.8 million contract in the offseason, but are now looking to part ways with him because they believe he has become a disruptive presence within the team, league sources said. Bynum often expressed a lack of desire to play and practice and was convinced by the Cavaliers not to quit previously, sources said.
Bynum went 0 for 11 in a loss to the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 23. After appearing in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 26, he was suspended for the following game and excused from all team activities indefinitely.