It appears NBA commissioner David Stern has created another mess for his league as it comes out of a messy lockout.
Sterns decision to block a three-team trade that would have landed Chris Paul in Los Angeles and placed Lamar Odom in New Orleans and Pau Gasol in Houston is being met with a great deal of resistance. So much so the three teams involved are planning an appeal of Thursday’s decision by Stern, sources have told ESPN.com.
While the Rockets were likely saved from themselves in a horrible deal that would have shipped Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round draft pick off for a way-past-his-prime Gasol, the idea the commissioner could step in and stop it is just wrong.
If Stern was intoxicated with power during the lockout, he is sloppy drunk with it now.
Stern said at the time had to with the fact the trade did not benefit New Orleans as much as it helped Los Angeles. He continued to reiterate that point Friday, telling Bloomberg News that the decision was made to keep Paul in New Orleans because it was “more valuable than the trade that was being discussed.”
If Stern is a talking as a team owner, which the NBA is when it comes to New Orleans right now, he may have a leg to stand on. If he is talking as a commissioner who is trying to keep balance in the league with a forceful hand then there is a problem.
A horrible precedent is being set if the commissioner can nix any trade he doesn’t feel has value for both franchises. Teams make trades for many reasons, sometimes value-for-value, sometimes to get stronger for the future and at other times when things aren’t working out.
Then you have a case like the one New Orleans is presented with; either deal Paul now for some value or face the reality that once he becomes a free agent next summer he is free to bounce wherever he would like and the Hornets get nothing in return.
This does all smack in the face of a competitive edge going decidedly in the favor the larger market teams, which was a lot of what the lockout was about. But maybe this is why the owners should have locked each other out as opposed to the players. They need to be saved from themselves.
It seems that business is back to the usual with the Los Angeles Lakers gearing up to make another run by potentially adding Orlando center Dwight Howard and Paul to the mix with Bryant.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who last year watched his franchise player LeBron James walk away to Miami for less money, called foul on this latest deal for Paul. Several news outlets including Yahoo! Sports and The Cleveland Plain Dealer obtained the email Gilbert sent to Stern, calling the deal “a travesty” and he pushed for Stern to put the proposed trade to a vote of “the 29 owners of the Hornets,” making reference to the fact the rest of the league owns the franchise until an ownership group can be found.
“I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen,” Gilbert wrote. “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?”
How about we just rename the entire NBA “All The Kings Men?”