After several days of stalled talks, the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers made progress Saturday on a trade that would involve Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, sources told ESPN.com.
The Cavaliers want to execute a trade by Sunday so it can be completed ahead of Tuesday's deadline for Bynum's contract to become fully guaranteed, sources said. Trades need 48 hours to be finalized so players can have physicals.
The Cavs have been involved in talks with other teams looking to take advantage of Bynum's contract. The deal is for $12.3 million this season but if a team waives Bynum by Tuesday it will owe him nothing because the $6.3 million left on the contract is not guaranteed if he's released by that date.
On Friday, ESPN.com reported the Cavs have been in talks with the Jazz for veteran forward Richard Jefferson in a money-saving move for Utah. Cleveland also has considered keeping Bynum and using him as a trade asset before next month's trade deadline, sources said.
The injury-ravaged Lakers have been considering whether to execute a Gasol-for-Bynum trade because it would get them out of the luxury tax for the first time in seven years. More important than the $20 million in instant savings would be easing the pressure of going into the repeater tax in either 2015 or '16, sources said. If a team is in the luxury tax in four out of any five years, it triggers the repeater tax.
Sources say the Lakers, who broke a six-game losing streak with a victory against the Jazz on Friday night, also are seeking a package that would include a young player or a draft pick from the Cavs, which has been holding up the talks.
The Lakers internally have been debating whether they should trade Gasol, a four-time All-Star with the team, or wait for some of their players to get healthy with hopes of making a run in the second half of the season.
It appears these talks, which kicked into gear last weekend when the Cavs suspended Bynum for a game and put him on the trade block, could be headed for a resolution one way or the another on Sunday.