"Basketball Reasons" An NBA Nightmare

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Friday, December 09, 2011 with No comments
         I slept on it in hopes that I would wake up and feel differently; sadly I feel the same amount of disgust that I felt last night upon hearing the news that David Stern, commissioner of the NBA nixed the trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers.  Chris Paul was preparing to fly to Los Angeles last evening and had already made arraignments for Kobe Bryant to pick him up upon his arrival when he heard the news that the league had stepped in a canceled the trade citing "basketball reasons".

During the David Stern era of the NBA, there's been many conspiracy theories regarding player movement and championship victories, but non of them have ever been confirmed despite having mountains of evidence in some cases.  What we saw last night was akin to a young child walking in on his or her parents placing presents under a Christmas tree and then realizing that there is no Santa Clause........shocking!  On paper, the league was correct in the fact that it could veto a trade based on the Hornets being league owned but legally there had to be another reason outside of "basketball reasons." 

What happened last night was a sickening display of an abuse of power, it was a hastily made decision to nix this deal that would have allowed the Hornets to acquire Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin and Luis Scola to have a shot a salvaging their future but if this move by the league causes Chris Paul to stay in New Orleans for the duration of the season, what would stop Chris Paul from just walking away and leaving the Hornets with nothing in return?  Think about that for a second, the "competitive balance" theory that the NBA shoved down our throats as the reason they locked out the players goes out of the door if they just let Paul walk away.  Any informed NBA fan understands that this isn't about "basketball reasons".  This action by David Stern
wasn't though tout and it appears as if he's lost all control.  His hast decision could have allowed the shit to hit the fan and the timing of his decision is curious as well.

Dan Gilbert
Teams were allowed to begin negotiating with free agents on December 5th and since that time the Hornets had been working on a trade for Chris Paul, it was public knowledge but the final rendition of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was fortified until an hour after the announcement of the Paul trade.  Stern could have nixed any trade from the Hornets during the past five days but he knew that if he did, the players would have backed out of the deal.....again very curious timing.  Paul is considering legal action against the NBA and spoke with the Players Association last night about all of the possibilities.  Paul could collusion against the NBA and its owners and shockingly enough, Dan Gilbert could have indirectly supplied him with the necessary ammunition.  In an email obtained by Yahoo sports, Dan Gilbert was adamant that the trade shouldn't be allowed.

Commissioner,

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?
Please advise….

Dan G.
According to Yahoo Sports, a rival executive with ties to the league office voiced his opinion on the mess that was last night in the NBA.



“We were all told by the league he was a trade-able player, and now they’re saying that Dell doesn’t have the authority to make the trade?” said an NBA executive who had periodic talks with New Orleans throughout the process. “Now they’re saying that Dell is an idiot, that he can’t do his job. [Expletive] this whole thing. David’s drunk on power, and he doesn’t give a [expletive] about the players, and he doesn’t give a [expletive] about the hundreds of hours the teams put in to make that deal.
“How do the Lakers explain this to Odom? How does Houston deal with the guys it just tried to trade? Scola and Martin are going to be pissed at them, and who knows how long that takes to get over? Explain to me how the league kills this Pau Gasol deal, but allows Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol?
“To me, this makes the league feel like it’s rigged, that Stern just does whatever Stern wants to do. He’s messed up the competitive balance of this league a lot worse by killing the deal because you’ve completely destroyed the planning that New Orleans and Houston did and left them in shambles over this. I’ve never been so discouraged about this league, never so down.
“I mean, come on: Chris Paul is leaving New Orleans in 66 games. He’s gone. And what’s Dell Demps, and that franchise, going to have to show for it?”
Just as expected, David Stern released a statement addressing the Chris Paul trade debacle:

“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.”

For those wondering, the Washington Generals are an exhibition basketball team who's known for the losing streak to the Harlem Globetrotters.  Nevertheless, Chris Paul has a case against the NBA based on the email above and just as last night in my post Were you all had I ask this question; If Chris Paul had been traded to a small market team, would the NBA have still nixed the trade?  I understand what this new breed of owners want, I've seen both sides of the situation but the reality is that the NBA will never be able to control player movement.  Please that this into account, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh all took pay cuts of around $20 million to play together and battle for a championship.  The Hornets could pay Chris Paul $40 million more than any other team over the duration of a new contract if he wanted to stay in New Orleans for the long haul.  When players are leaving those amounts of money on the table to have a legit shot to battle for NBA championships they can't be controlled by the league nor can they be called greedy....just let it sink in for a moment while I leave you with wise words from Phil Jackson when the league acquired the Hornets last year.
"Who's going to trade who to whom? Who's going to pull the button on trading player or when Chris [Paul] says he has to be traded? How's that going to go? I don't know. Somebody's going to have to make a very nonjudgmental decision on that part that's not going to irritate anybody else in this league ... I don't know how they're going to do that.  That's what everybody is going to be afraid of: Who is going to be helping who out?"
Hindsight is indeed 20/20.