I’ve been sitting here for a few hours trying to find the right words to express what I’m feeling about this Paul/Lakers/Stern hoopla. I’ve got nothing… I don’t know what to say. Instead, here’s a timeline of last night’s events as they unfolded to me:
3:58 pm: The trade was originally reported as follows (by a twitter MUST follow Adrian Wojnarowski):
I was furious. Not at the league, per se, but at the Lakers… here they were pulling off another blockbuster trade, while keeping all their major pieces of a championship contender in place. Imagining the Lakers with Paul, Kobe, AND Gasol was too much. Super teams… you guys win.
At 3:58.30 pm I tweeted this:
And I meant it. The league JUST went through a lockout with a major focus on bringing parity and competitive balance to the league! This particular trade seemed to flush all of that, and let the Lakers trade three quarters for a silver dollar.
At 4:06 pm this happened:
That changed my feelings completely. Suddenly, the Lakers didn’t seem so scary. They were forced to give up Gasol and Odom (the length that REALLY killed the Jazz year after year), and they were left with Kobe (bad knees), Bynum (bad knee), and Chris Paul (no knee at all). In a compressed 66 game season, they’d be hard pressed to come out of it in one serviceable piece. I mean, sure, they’d be scary in spurts… but when you’re playing back to back to backs on those legs, you’re going to have major rotation problems.
The three team trade was supposed to go something like this:
- Get: Chris Paul
- Give: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom
- Get: Gasol, cap room for new free agent
- Give: Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin
- Get: Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin
- Give: Chris Paul
Then at 7:07 pm THIS HAPPENED:
Turns out the league owned Hornets (see: 29 owners and David Stern), were not impressed with this trade, and they were not going to let it happen. Owners lost it, complained to David, and Stern made the final decision to kill the trade. Unprecedented. All hell broke loose, EVERYWHERE. My twitter feed, emails, and texts blew up. Before I went to bed, I had over 50 emails in my inbox, and when I woke up I had almost 30 more waiting. I saw everything from “David Stern was right” to “David Stern has lost his mind.”
- This comes across like Stern, as commissioner, killed the deal. This isn’t true. Stern killed the deal as a representative of the collective Hornets ownership (the other 29 owners). Boiled down, it would be like Gail Miller saying “no” to the Williams trade at the eleventh hour and (as an owner) it’s her right.
- This is the problem with the LEAGUE OWNING A TEAM. It’s idiotic. How can a collective ownership of 29 individuals be trusted to make the same choices an independent owner would in a vacuum when bajillions of dollars are on the line? It’s not possible. Not when the stakes are this high.
- If this doesn’t get resolved in a satisfying way, does it hang a “Fire Sale” sign around the Hornets franchise? I say yes. If this trade block stands, CP3 ain’t getting traded… ever, which means in all likelihood he’ll leave for nothing next season. If there wasn’t an argument for contraction before today, here it is… signed, sealed, & delivered. This effectively neuters the Hornets franchise.
“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.”
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