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Friday, December 9, 2011

Nixed Chris Paul trade creates firestorm of problems for NBA

Lakers Paul trade fiasco is a bad look for the NBA:

There are a lot of ways to take in what transpired yesterday involving Chris Paul and a host of other big names being traded, only to have NBA commissioner/czar David Stern kill the deal. It sets a disturbing precedent for the league right after all of the hand wringing of the labor dispute that has already knocked the season down to a 66-game schedule. Most fans already see Stern as a meddle some power drunk leader who seems to have way too much power over his league. It was first reported by Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojonarowski that the NBA owners pushed for this not to happen. Now the one thing that I was say is that the NBA does own the Hornets and so that means they do have the final say in their basketball operations. This is the biggest problem with the whole situation. The entire trade was put to a vote from the owners and it was declined. It was inevitable that Paul was going to leave New Orleans when his contract expired and even Hornets president Hugh Weber said as much this year. New Orleans didn’t want to be held hostage like Denver with Carmelo Anthony or just let Paul walk like Lebron James did in Cleveland. The Hornets GM Dell Demps engineered one heck of a trade that saw his team land Kevin Martin who averaged 23.5 points last season, Lamar Odom the versatile power forward. Goran Dragic a decent backup point guard and a first round draft pick. Seems pretty fair to right? The Lakers were giving up their entire identity as they traded away two of the three 7’footers that has defined them over the past few years.

When the league owns a team, then it can pretty much do whatever it wants with it. Cleveland Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert, who of course had his own about face with big time superstarLebron James, wrote a letter to Stern that pretty much sums up what most of the other owners were thinking. This is the letter:

Cavs Owner Dan Gilbet

It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.

This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.

Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).

I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.

I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.

When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?

Please advise….

Dan G.

Hornets GM Dell Deps
Do you feel that stinging feeling of hate and spite from Gilbert? Now maybe that is taking it too far but what other way do you interpret this letter? Its understandably disheartening for small market owners to have to swallow yet another superstar getting his request and being traded to big market team (which was one of the key issues in the recent labor strife) but its another thing for them make such a bold move of this magnitude.

 Lamar Odom
This makes the entire brand of the NBA look superficial and presents more questions then answers. Now what do the Hornets do? Can they not trade Paul at all this season, setting up a scenario where he walks away fom nothing? How do the Lakers explain to Lamar Odom (Who was reduced to tears on radio and then later went on a rampage on twitter) and Pau Gasol? Houston thought it finally had its premier big man and now they are back to square one. And how about Hornets GM Dell Demps? He was so distraught that he reportedly almost quit his job and had to be talked into staying. They have taken away all of his power to be able to do his job. The NBA has to find a way to get this right. Even if the owners are lobbying for it not to, this would set an unprecedented scene for a league that should want nothing to do anymore legal wrangling. The Hornets got what they wanted, ridding itself of the drama that would have ensued with Paul this year, The Lakers got the best Point Guard it would have had since Magic Johnson, and the Rockets got the big man they coveted in Pau Gasol so what is the problem here? David Stern and his cronies have some explaining to do or this could get ugly fast.

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