Stern Fails Hornets Over Basketball Reasons
Last week, like many Los Angeles Laker fans, I sat on the edge of my seat as reports and tweets poured in announcing a three team trade was in the works involving the Lakers, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets.
Superstar point guard Chris Paul was on his way to Tinsel Town. Pau Gasol was going to call the L0ne Star State Home. Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first round draft pick would now reside in the Big Easy.
Despite the would be gaping hole in the front court, I was beyond excited at the back court combo of arguably the best point guard in the league in Paul being teamed with up with the best shooting guard over the last decade in Kobe Bryant.
All teams were happy with the final result. For the Lakers, they were getting a franchise type player that could carry on the proud Laker tradition after Kobe hangs up his sneakers. Houston was getting a big man they’ve always coveted that could help them replace the loss of Yao Ming while New Orleans was getting two very capable forwards, one of which is the reigning sixth man of the year along with a 20 point per game scorer, a solid young point guard along with a first round pick in what analysts project to be a very deep draft class.
It was a win win scenario for all teams involved. That is until approximately three hours later when NBA Commissioner David Stern made an unprecedented decision and vetoed the trade. Fans, analysts, reporters and players alike were stunned at the ruling. Citing “basketball reasons” the league decided that New Orleans, who is being run by the league while it seeks to find a permanent owner, was not getting enough in return for its biggest asset.
It’s one thing to veto a perfectly good trade for all involved but it’s another thing to do so without giving any kind of valid, transparent reason. Stern and the NBA decided that New Orleans was more valuable with Chris Paul in a Hornets uniform.
I understand where Stern is coming from but often times sales take months to complete and to my knowledge the Hornets don’t even have any potential buyers at this point in time. In a little over six months from now Paul will be gone.
I ask the question, “How is having a player who’s made it clear that he has every intention to leave as a free agent at the end of the season a good thing for a franchise?”
So let me get this straight, getting nothing for Chris Paul is better than getting four really good players for him since he’s inevitably going to leave anyway?
The league gave New Orleans General Manager Dell Demps complete authority to negotiate a deal to restock the franchise and move beyond the constant distractions that go with having a lame duck all-star on your team. At no point did the NBA give Demps any kind of parameters to satisfy when negotiating a deal for Paul and then when he does they completely undermine everything he accomplished.
If anything Stern has made it nearly impossible for Demps to find an attractive package in exchange for Paul. Why would anyone want to negotiate with New Orleans with this kind of precedence already having been set?
Since last weeks veto the Clippers have emerged as a possible trade partner and have reportedly offered the Hornets Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and either Eric Gordon or their rights to Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first round pick. Ins some reports both Gordon & the draft pick are being offered to New Orleans.
I know we’re talking about the Clippers here but even they will eventually get tired of negotiating with the completely unreasonable David Stern er the Hornets and realize they’re stupid to offer New Orleans all those players when NO ONE else is bidding against them.
It’s the job of every commissioner in their respective sport to act in the best interest of the entire league but in the case of the New Orleans Hornets David Stern failed the franchise he had the power and greatest responsibility to protect.
Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.
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