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After killing Chris Paul deal to the Lakers, there’s no way the league can trade him anywhere else

Dec 8, 2011, 10:21 PM EDT


The deal was done, agreed to in principle by all three teams.

The Lakers would get Chris Paul, in exchange for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. The Rockets would end up with Gasol, and the Hornets would end up with a solid package of Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, and Goran Dragic, with the cap room available to potentially go after Nene, the best free agent center on the market.

Considering Paul’s impending free agent status at the end of this season, and the fact that he told New Orleans he would not be back and wanted to be traded, this actually seemed like a good trade for the Hornets, one that would allow them to rebuild on the fly and even compete for a playoff spot this season.

But in the rare situation where the league happens to have ownership control of a team, well, that’s where things get sticky.

The owners pushed David Stern to kill the deal that would send Chris Paul to the Lakers, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that’s exactly what has happened.

Some owners pushed Stern to demand that trade be nullified, and the Hornets be made to keep Paul on the roster for the foreseeable future, sources said. A chorus of owners were irate with the belief that the five-month lockout had happened largely to stop big-market teams from leveraging small-market teams for star players pending free agency.

All the players involved in the trade have been told to report to their teams for the start of training camp on Friday.

Plenty to digest here, but first and foremost is the assertion that the lockout happened to stop this kind of thing from happening — which is complete nonsense.

The reason for the lockout on the owners’ side was based solely on money, pure and simple. The owners demanded givebacks from the last collective bargaining agreement to the tune of three billion dollars, and they got it. The players knew that they had to cave on the financial side, but if that was the case, there was no way they were going to give up the systems in place that allowed them to play wherever and with whomever they wanted once they became free agents.

If the owners were truly that concerned about competitive balance issues, they could have made that the priority, and for some financial concessions, the players likely would have gone along with those changes for the overall good of the league. Credit the players for being smart enough not to cave to both, and scoff at the owners who balk at a free agent like Chris Paul telling his current team he wants out, and that he will only sign a new deal with a team of his choosing.

Now, back to the matter at hand. I said before all of this nonsense began that the Hornets would not trade Chris Paul as long as the league owned the team. The conflict of interest is evident, and I’m not mad at the league for cancelling Paul’s trade to the Lakers at the last minute.

But it never should have gotten this far.

It’s understandable that the league wouldn’t want the PR nightmare of trying to justify sending the game’s best point guard to the league’s glamor franchise in the nation’s second largest television market, even if the deal wasn’t great for the Lakers unless it was the first of two that would have also landed them Dwight Howard. But now that the league has intervened and blocked/vetoed/prevented the trade from going down, the NBA has made its bed, and now must lie in it.

After cancelling the deal to send Chris Paul to the Lakers, the Hornets should not be allowed to trade him — at all — until a new ownership group is in place.

This is really the only solution to maintain even the appearance of fairness throughout the league. If the NBA is going to step in and disallow this trade — which, by all accounts, was a bad one for L.A. and a fine one for the Hornets, given the circumstances — then the league can’t possibly allow the Hornets to send Chris Paul anywhere else.

If the literally billions of dollars that swung back to the owners in the new collective bargaining agreement aren’t enough to entice someone to invest in an NBA franchise, then the league should indeed question what it was all for. It certainly wasn’t about ensuring competitive balance, and after this most recent debacle where the league is blocking a trade that seems to be fair for all teams involved, there’s no way that they should be able to trade Chris Paul at all until an independent ownership group is in place.

  1. bparmalee - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Great points… well said.

  2. trbowman - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    ” which, by all accounts, was a bad one for L.A. and a fine one for the Hornets, given the circumstances —”


  3. leearmon - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Very well written article. You must be new.

    • edweird0 - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:01 AM

      LOL. Burn.

    • delsj - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:14 AM

      I know how you feel. When I read the line: “I’m not mad at the league for cancelling Paul’s trade to the Lakers at the last minute” I had to scroll back to the top to see who this was b/c it obviously wasn’t Helin.

  4. tall4myage - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    So, then, can the Magic trade howard, or does it have to have other owners approval? WHat a mess!

  5. jonrambo - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    Comrade polakoff thank you for breaking down the obvious after the fact. Maybe you and your fellow politburo member comrade helin can get the cba annulled to ensure that the proletarian workers that laboriously enslave themselves to the basketball court can be freed at last.

    I’m looking forward to more of your future hindsight analysis.

  6. bigtrav425 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    good talent/trade for the Hornets?? what the hell were u smoking when you wrote this?!??! Asinine trade..its what it was.the players they got back were not all young..Odom is not young and Martin isn’t that young they are all role players more or less..if you think its a good trade please refrain from watching basketball ever again…if this trade goes thru without getting bynum,then I will be done with the NBA:…

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:44 PM

      So next year when CP is a free agent and he signs with the Lakers or Knicks what do the Hornets get in return? That’s right, nothing.

      Dumb move by the league.

  7. southbeachtalent - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Completely agree with this article.

    Weren’t most fans backing the owners?? Where u at?

    • trbowman - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:44 PM

      Right here and still backing the owners.

      • david8726 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:57 PM

        The NBA owners have done a great job fooling you, then.

    • berto55 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:52 PM

      I backed the owners and it’s also why I back the veto of this trade. LA doesn’t do this without a deal in place for Howard. Both players said they want to team up together and that is the in thing to do and basically a must if you really want to have a chance to win a trophy now. So next week when Bynum goes to Orlando for Howard, it becomes quite clear to everyone that deal was already in place. So then everybody sees you as profesional wrestling, which it resembles more and more everyday. I want to go here, I’ll only sign here, this guys my buddy I want to play with him……..puke….

      • david8726 - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:06 PM

        This is a ridiculous post, and any of you people who upvoted this are drinking kool-aid.

        You’re basically suggesting that the NBA, which owns the Hornets, and the Magic were both conspiring together to bring Chris Paul and Dwight Howard together.

        How is it in the interest of the Magic to make sure Dwight Howard ends up on some other team with Chris Paul? Oh right – IT’S NOT.

        Furthermore, Chris Paul has been very public in saying that his preferred destination is *New York,* which obviously would never be able to get Dwight Howard.

        Here are the facts – The Lakers just happen to have the assets to land both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. They had the assets to do a totally fair trade to the Hornets to get Paul, and a good young center (Bynum) to swing for Dwight Howard, which would also be a fair trade. There is no conspiracy.

        The team that is being screwed most in this deal is actually the Hornets, because they will never get a better offer than the one that the league just scuttled.

      • truthofchicago - Dec 9, 2011 at 6:59 AM

        @berto55: If your comments are true then the Dallas Mavericks definitely wouldn’t have won last year. If I was an office worker, I might not have the financial reach of a NBA player, but I can sure as hell look for another job when I want to. And lets be honest, historically the Hornets (even going back to their Charlotte days) have not been a well managed team even before the NBA took them over. Have the Hornets tried to build a team around him? With who Trevor Ariza? Letting Tyson Chandler get away?

      • berto55 - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:46 AM

        Appearances are more important than reality.

  8. dalucks - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    This is why they should vote no to the new CBA and cancel this 66 game season. There are more small market owners (26) than big market owners (6). The lockout was a waste of time because small market teams are not going to be competitive, profitable and no one is going to buy tickets to their arena for games. The people excited about this 66 game season do not buy tickets to games.

  9. jc49ers52 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    I think this is complete BS what’s this dictatorship in the NBA all the other owners need to get there noses out of the lakers,hornets and Rockets busniess and worry about their dam team if the trade is fair all the teams are happy let it be if David stern kills this trade he kills what the NBA is about and you lose fan base with bad decision

  10. leearmon - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    Exactly how did you come to the figure of small market owners to large market owners? Plus there are only 30 NBA teams so your 26 / 6 number is off. But understand there are more large market owners by far than smaller market owners.

  11. andyreidisfat - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    It’s so sad because the league and owners had a real shot to really change the way they do business and choked.

    Now I am the most anti corporate pro labor person I have ever met, I would even call myself a socialist almost and even I was on the owners side when I thought they were going to make changes but the year hasn’t even started and all were hearing is Howard to this big market, Paul to that big market. Both men forcing trades away from the smaller markets so they can join with other stars in big markets.
    Basketball players suck

  12. giselleisasucubus - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Another idiot who thinks this trade was good for the hornets. In the nba, a bunch of c’s&b’s for an a+ doesn’t make a good deal. 5 guys on the court. A player like Paul is a gamechanger. Odom? Getting old and always has been a strong 6th man. Kevin Martin? Really? He’s worse than Jeff Green. Scola is a scrapper. Not one of these guys fills Paul’s shoes. Rebuild on the fly? With that group? Are you high?

    • 6thsense79 - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:27 AM

      Actually you’re the idiot. So rather than getting some kind of value from this deal you rather rent CP for a year and have him walk?? That only makes sense if you’re on the verge of a championship. So next year when CP walks and the Hornets are left with nothng but memories what are you going to say? Well we sure showed the players who’s boss?? Get a grip.

    • willardj - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:50 AM

      Kevin Martin is worse than Jeff Green? Do you even watch the NBA?

      • bozosforall - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:29 AM

        No, he likely doesn’t, especially since he is an idiot New England sports fan.

    • bozosforall - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:28 AM

      Better than the garbage that the Celtics sent to the Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett.

  13. giselleisasucubus - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    &for the morons who compare kg for al Jefferson, don’t forget Jefferson was 23 & averaged 23 p/game.he slipped when he left Boston.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:04 PM

      Morons and Idiots…… Look in the mirror.

      CP will leave next year and the Hornets will get NOTHING.

      Your delaying the inevitable.

      • kinggw - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:48 AM

        Thats not the point. A league owned team shouldnt make any trades that could alter the balance of the league without the approval of a majority of owners. I would make the same argument if Paul was going to the Bucks.

  14. dalucks - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    I apologize for the error. The six big market teams are the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks, Mavericks, Clippers (ran like a small market team), Nets and Rockets. I really do not count the Clippers in this group but they are in Los Angeles. These are the six and the other 24 teams are small/middle market teams.

    • david8726 - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:09 PM

      Miami isn’t a big market?

      • southbeachtalent - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:14 PM


      • david8726 - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:16 PM

        Well, we’re not small market either.

    • ezwriter69 - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:49 AM

      Populations of metropolitan areas of: Washington-Baltimore 8.7 million, Philly 7 million, San Francisco Oakland 7 million, Boston 6.2 million, (Houston 5.9 million), Toronto 5.5 million, (Dallas 4.8 million)

      Big is a relative term, but still, whatever you’re smoking, I want some… wipe your neck, dude, it’s coming out your ears.

  15. trey14jewels - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    Absolutely idiotic, that’s all that can be said for this. However, since I don’t have a rooting interest in either team, I could care less. Maybe this will convince D12 to go to the windy city and pair up with D-Rose to form the Adidas Allstars! Chicago can offer Orlando better pieces than LA (or any other team for that matter) ever could.

  16. trbowman - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    “The NBA owners have done a great job fooling you, then.”

    Not even close.

  17. 00maltliquor - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    I cant believe this. I just came back from the store, bought all this beer, and got friends coming over to celebrate the night away in about 30 min., get a phone call from a friend in Holywood saying the trade is nixed, get back here and it’s true. Why don’t you just tell me i won the lottery, then 2 hours later tell me it was a recording from last night and that i’m not a millionaire, my numbers don’t count.

    This is brutal. I didn’t know the NBA stood for Nagging Babies Alliance.

    What a bunch of wussie nagging sore loser crybaby lowlife Dan Gilbert a$$ owners! Go kill yourself you bunch of billionaire wussies. Don’t forget to give your children trophies for getting 7th place in little league, you chumps!

    • trbowman - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:34 AM

      “What a bunch of wussie nagging sore loser crybaby lowlife Dan Gilbert a$$ owners! Go kill yourself you bunch of billionaire wussies”

      lol, you are so mad.

  18. 00maltliquor - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    I f****** hope CP3 signes with Miami for vets minimum next year and the Hornets are left high and dry! This is a bunch of B.S.! I am rooting for every single big market team this year to crush all these small market pansy owners! Even dare I say Boston?? I am in a rage right now!

    • trbowman - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:39 AM


      Being a Lakers fan sure is tough.

  19. 00maltliquor - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    I demand to know what owners were behind this!

  20. ou812ahole - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Boston isn’t a big market?

  21. bostonianpride - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    Not sure what the Lakers salary cap will be after this season but I do know that if the Knicks sign Tyson Chandler there is NO way they can sign Paul for anything other than the veterans minimum which I don’t see happening.

    In my opinion Paul is being a selfish superstar. The Hornets were forced to settle for this trade because no team was willing to trade for him without him signing an extension which he wont do. The Hornets originally wanted either Gordon (Clippers) or Curry (GS) but because Paul doesn’t wanna play there he ultimately is handcuffing the Hornets. This is exactly what is wrong with the NBA and why I didn’t give a shit whether the lockout ended or not!!!! Fuck the selfish superstars. The only way there will ever be competitive balance will be if we get rid of all small market teams and let the large market teams battle each other!

  22. dalucks - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:25 AM

    Population is nice but that does not help when owners cannot sellout the 20K seat arena. Look at Sacremento, Charlotte, New Jersey, Phoenix, Milwaukee, New Orleans, San Antiono, Detroit,Utah, Indiana,Memphis, Toronto, Golden State and Oklahoma City are small market teams. Most are struggling with attendance and profitability problems. The owners should have cancelled the entire season and really come up with a CBA that would help all teams be profitable.

    • 6thsense79 - Dec 9, 2011 at 7:24 AM

      Really dalucks? Cancel the season? To help small market teams that are poorly ran. And take San Antonio off that list. The locals support the Spurs plenty and they’re well ran.

      Sacramento, Detroit, Utah, and Phoenix are experiencing down years. During years when they were well ran they all sold out consistantly. Sac during the Chris Weber era, Detroit during the Chauncey/Ben Wallace era, Utah built a team of very, very, skilled players and have always had good attendance so you can take them off this list also, and Phoenix’s downturn started when they forgot they were a run and gun team and dealt for Shaq.

      Charlotte, Toronto (Toronto is small market????), Indiana, and Golden State have been poorly ran for years so they don’t sale out. Even so you don’t know what you’re talking about because Golden State still does well attendance wise despite consitantly under performing. They were 10th in the league in home attendance last year. In fact you can check out the attendance records of all teams here Seems you were talking out your a%s.

      You’re trying to guarantee profits to teams that are poorly ran basically.

  23. davidly - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    This is like the Skibby MaRue debacle all over again.

  24. broncobourque - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    For those saying this was a good deal for the Hornets, good for what? Where would this trade leave the Hornets? Middle of the pack with an aging roster. If you owned the Hornets, would you make that deal while you are trying to sell? If the Hornets trade Paul, they are going to need young players with a lot of upside, not aging veterans who are role players. A deal with GS, The Clippers or other teams with multiple young players with star potential are much better trading partners.

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