The NBA is trying to put a positive spin on it's decision to block a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here's a recap of the bizarre events that went down yesterday (December 8).
The Lakers, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets agreed to a three team deal that would have sent Paul to the Lakers. The terms of the trade would have sent Pau Gasol of the Lakers to Houston, who would have sent Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic plus a 1st and 2nd round pick to the Hornets. The Lakers would also have sent Lamar Odom to the Hornets.
The trade would have been a huge windfall for the Hornets who stand to get nothing at the end of the year if they are unable to move Paul, whose contract is expiring.
The Lakers would have gotten another all-star to play alongside Kobe Bryant, and the Rockets would have gotten the big man in Gasol they have coveted since losing Yao Ming to foot injuries.
Everybody should have been happy, but according to various sources other team owners objected to the trade because they didn't want Paul and Kobe on the same team.
Yahoo Sports obtained an email that was sent by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to NBA Commissioner David Stern, urging that the trade be voted on by the owners.
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 a 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?
Three hours after the trade was agreed upon the NBA killed it, saying it was in the best interest of the Hornets who are owned by the league.
Today Stern issued the following statement:
“Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the Commissioner's Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling. All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade.” - David Stern
This whole things smells of collusion between other NBA owners and Stern to make sure the Lakers don't end up with Paul. The argument that the blocked deal was in the best interest of the Hornets is bogus. They would have come away with three starters and draft picks for a player that won't be there next year no matter what.
Paul is now threatening to sue the league for blocking the trade. The NBA Player's Association is also threatening to get involved if Stern doesn't reverse his decision.
What's your take on this whole mess?