On one hand this is not new news — everyone involved knew Cleveland would not trade for Andrew Bynum as part of a three-team deal that sends Dwight Howard to the Lakers unless Bynum was willing to commit long term.
And he might, in the past Cleveland was one of the three teams on a list of where he wants to land (Houston and Dallas were the others outside Los Angeles). While saying you would do it in the abstract and putting a pen to paper on a contract are very different things, there is at least a conversation to be had.
But a story by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo highlights why this trade is not just going to snap together overnight.
“Cleveland will only do the deal if Bynum extends,” a league official directly involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports.
Los Angeles wants the structure of a three-team deal agreed in principle before letting Cleveland take that next step to communicate with Bynum and his representatives – and that won’t happen until Orlando makes a decision that it wants to also lock-in the framework of a trade, sources told Y!
So far, Orlando has shown a level of indecisiveness in the talks, sources involved in the negotiations said.
The deal as it stands now would send Howard to the Lakers, Bynum to the Cavaliers, and Anderson Varejao plus multiple picks to Orlando. But Orlando also wants to get rid of ugly contracts like Jason Richardson and/or Hedo Turkoglu and where they land add to the challenges.
Right now, it all comes back to Orlando and what they want. They are trying to create leverage and a bidding war, to get more picks or unload more contracts. They are being patient, playing hard to get. But you can hear the frustration with that strategy in leaks coming from people close to Howard or in Cleveland — the sides that want the deal done most of all. They are frustrated with what they see as a moving goal line in the same way Brooklyn was before.
Houston is still in the mix with picks, young players and the ability to take on salary. They would do it even to rent Dwight Howard. And it is becoming more and more clear what Orlando wants to do is blow the whole thing up and rebuild through the draft (remember new Magic GM Rob Hennigan came out of the Oklahoma City organization, where building through the draft was is prized).
So we sit and wait for Orlando to make a move, then for Cleveland to see if it can convince Andrew Bynum to stay and play with Kyrie Irving.
The Lakers still like Bynum as part of their roster and if this drags on too long they may start talking to him about him staying with them long term instead. Los Angeles may move on.