ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein have the latest on Friday evening about the Jefferson-to-Cleveland rumors. Here is their report on the three main exit strategies that the Cavs are weighing with a mind centered around a deal by Monday:
A deal with Utah that would send Jefferson to Cleveland and likewise allow the Jazz to acquire and waive Bynum before the other half of his $12.3 million salary this season becomes guaranteed is one of those three primary options on Cleveland’s board. The other two, sources said Friday, are continuing talks with the Lakers this weekend in hopes of hashing out trade terms both teams can stomach or Cleveland electing to keep Bynum beyond next Wednesday’s deadline and then re-shopping him as a trade asset before the Feb. 20 trade deadline … or, if necessary, again in late June and early July.
Later on Friday evening, The Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer, per an NBA source, reported that no Jefferson deal is likely.
Jefferson, 33, was sent to Utah in the a salary dump from the Golden State Warriors this summer as a soon-to-be expiring deal. He’s not at all the same player that averaged 19 points per game during a seven-year stretch earlier in his career. Yet, this season, he’s averaging 10 points in 27 minutes a game as a starter for the Jazz, winners of 10 of their last 20 entering Friday after a terrible start to the season.
The Jazz would be interested in releasing Bynum to save even more salary cap space. Yesterday’s latest had the Cavs “seeking other options” in Bynum negotiations besides the Lakers’ Pau Gasol. Those talks have reportedly stalled, although that remains one of the three options that Windhorst and Stein reported about tonight.
The final option they discussed has Bynum staying in Cleveland past the Jan. 7 deadline and perhaps into the offseason. His 2014-15 contract becomes due if he remains on a roster on July 10. Thus, he could remain a worthwhile salary piece in a trade.
The Cavs have been looking at various small forward options, they reported, with Jefferson then being a logical option. He could easily see minutes in Cleveland’s rotation alongside Earl Clark, Alonzo Gee and Anthony Bennett.
Matt Gade, Deseret News