Image: L.A. Times

Image: L.A. Times

Well, I certainly didn’t see this one coming.

Just as it was looking like the Lakers and Cavaliers wouldn’t reach a deal in time for Andrew Bynum’s contract to be waived, Cleveland shocked the basketball world by moving Bynum to the Bulls in exchange for All-Star Luol Deng.

Just like Pau Gasol, Deng is set to be a free agent, so there’s a certain risk involved here seeing as Deng could walk this summer. However, if the Cavs are willing to pay him what he wants – he reportedly is looking for around $15 million per season and declined a $10 million for three years extension recently, triggering the trade – then the Cavs should be able to lock him up.

So, why didn’t the Lakers end up dealing for Bynum? According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the same package of picks that the Bulls received were never offered to the Lakers.

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The Lakers clearly think Pau still has more value than just being a plain old salary dump and were wise to never lower their asking price.

Pau has dodged yet another bullet, though it would be foolish to think that there will be no more rumors involving the Spaniard before now and February’s trade deadline.