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League kills Chris Paul three-team trade to Lakers

Dec 8, 2011, 9:18 PM EDT

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Within hours of all parties saying the deal was all but done, the proposed three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers is dead.

And David Stern is standing over it holding the gun.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo writes said the deal is dead because the league — which currently owns the New Orleans Hornets — told Hornets GM Dell Demps to pull the plug on the trade after complaints from other owners.

Some owners pushed Stern to demand the 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.

League officials said it was not the owners but the league killed it for “basketball reasons.”

“It’s not true that the owners killed the deal, the deal was never discussed at the Board of Governors meeting and the league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass says told the Associated Press.

“Basketball reasons?” Really. As we have said, this trade alone was no steal for the Lakers.

Owner backlash seems far more probable. PBT has been saying this since talk of a Paul to the Lakers deal came up — we just had five months of a lockout where I could swear I remember NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver droning on and on about the system needing to change so small market owners had a chance.

Then the league-owned team trades its superstar to the Lakers, the 800-pound gorilla of large markets? You had to know owner backlash was coming. And that killed the deal.

Whether that is fair to the Hornets and Demps — who worked hard to get the best deal he could for the franchise going forward — is another matter all together. Who can the Hornets trade Paul to? Nobody? That’s not fair to them.

Deals that are off have a way of ressurecting, so don’t think that this is totally dead. As Miracle Max would say, it’s only “mostly dead.” At the very least, the deal will not be consumated on Friday, Stein reports. But there will need to be changes. For one thing, the rebuilding Hornets would like to get rid of the contract of Emeka Okafor, but are the Lakers willing to rework the deal and take him on? Or, have the Rockets decided they do not like what they are getting in the deal and they want more? Will the league have a change of heart?

If the owners blocked a Paul trade to the Lakers, would they allow one to Boston? To the Knicks? To anywhere Paul would sign an extension? If not, the Hornets could lose Paul for nothing because of it.

The league has created a PR disaster for itself no matter what move it makes now.

  1. iluvmoney617 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    This is why the trade didn’t happen

    – every team over the luxury cap (70 million) pays a dollar for dollar tax on everything past that cap. So if the Lakers had a 91 million dollar payroll, they’d have to pay an additional 20 million in luxury tax charges, bringing their payroll cost to 111 million.

    Instead, they drop their payroll by 10 million on the backs of the New Orleans/NBA franchise. So not only are the owners taking on an additional 15 million in payroll, they’re losing an additional 10 million dollars that would have been redistributed in revenue sharing.

  2. acieu - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Too many teams and not enough talent. Contraction of Charlotte, N.O., Minneapolis, Atlanta, LA Clippers, NJ and Memphis would be a good step.

    • bparmalee - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:21 PM

      I agree with Charlotte, N.O. and the T-Wolves but Memhis has a ton of talent… just in a bad market. the Clippers… really?? The Blake Griffin Clippers…with Eric Gordon?? That has to be a joke. The Nets that are building a new arena in Brooklyn with D Will and a billionaire owner… thats a joke too. The league does need to kill 2-4 teams but come on… the Clippers..Nets and Memphis??

    • gpatrick15 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:24 PM

      1. Clippers have talent (and fans)
      2. New Jersey has a new owner looking to make a splash. So far so good.
      3. Atlanta is one new owner away from becoming slightly relevant. Right now their the 6-7 best team out East.
      4. Memphis has a fan base that fills their arena at a decent rate if last year is any indication. They won’t be going anywhere as long as they continue to build a decent team.
      5. Minneapolis sucks, but shouldn’t be contracted (yet).

      The two best candidates for contraction would be New Orleans and Charlotte. Charlotte lost the hornets to begin with, and New Orleans lost the Jazz if I’m not mistaken. Why anyone stuck a team in these locales clearly didn’t look at past trends. As with the NFL and their situation with moving a team to L.A. (which would end badly 10-15 years from now if it ever happens), someone in charge needs to realize that certain sports won’t survive in certain locales.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:11 AM

        Why the hell would you contract a team that supports them? When Kevin McHale wasn’t ruining the Timberwolves, they were a damn near sellout every night. The future looks bright for them, and as soon as they start winning again, the fans will be out again.

        If Miami, Lakers, Boston had the same clown bringing that franchise down, their attendance would be the same, and they are a “big market”

    • MadDog Rickles - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:20 AM

      contract the Lakers!!!

    • ahemahem - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:55 AM

      Clippers are large market and make money.

      Plus they have B Griffin.

  3. tall4myage - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    This is total BS. Think of the precedents set here:

    1. the league gets to decide winners and losers. Even if the teams involved give up value players, the league gets to come in and kill it if it thinks it will make one team too strong? are they going to break up that thing in Miami, or are you allowed to have a superteam if you do it through free agency, not trade?

    2. what is the maximum allowable superstars on one team now? Who gets to decide what a superstar is? So under this scenario if D. Howard goes to Chicago, will they block it because they can’t have Howard and Rose on the same team?

    The Lakers didn’t steal Paul. They gave up two quality players (an all star and an every year sixth man of the year candidate) to get better at another position. I think the real issue here is that the other “owners” (I’m betting all from the west) see the handwriting on the wall…with Kobe and Paul on the same team and Howard already wanting to go there, and the Lakers were set to have their own big 3. If the NBA really does this, then I’m really going to lose interest. NBA Action…..its SOOOOOCIALISM!

  4. jonrambo - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    Stern needs to lose his job over this. He is responsible for the team and it’s affairs-especially understanding its limitations.

  5. cmr73 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    Wait …. What???? Is this fantasy basketball where league owners have veto power? Unreal. What’s next? Will they only be allowed to start one guard and one center? line-ups are locked 5 minutes before tip-off? This is bad …. Really bad.

  6. dirtdog7 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    I have to think that this trade gets approved in a couple of days. Sure, some of the owners don’t like it, but this doesn’t make the league look particularly good if the league goes around vetoing fair trades.

    Hell, if anything, it seems like the Rockets are giving up too much to get Gasol.

  7. progress2011 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Ahahahahaha…..this MSNBC blog is a known laker chat page ! I am just enjoying all out boo-hoo-hooing !!!
    The lakers are like the 1% multi- billionaires, the 99% of working class Americans are pissed at !

    Just as the 99% of working class Americans are fed up with the unequal / unfair rules the 1% multi-millionaires get. Small market teams and fans of those teams are sick of teams like the lakers ( especially the lakers ) ” Buying Championships “.

    more gnashing of teeth and a river of tears to come from La-La land….ahahahahaha !!!

  8. urallstupid - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    sweet, now to make any trade you need the approval from all 30 team basically.

    hornets cant trade paul to anyone basically.

    • tomtravis76 - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:06 PM

      Thats what I was thinking, how do any trades get completed now, moving forward? Are there going to be no more trades ever in the NBA, because obviously it only takes a few complaints from other teams to stop a trade. The Rockets and Lakers must have something to say about this trade being canceld.

  9. urallstupid - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    btw this is A HELL OF A LOT MORE than what toronto/cleveland got from their sign and trades of chris bosh/lebron, where was the idiot owners on those trades??

  10. smcgaels1997 - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    Chris Paul killed this by saying he wanted to be traded. enough is enough. You have a right to go anywhere you want as a free agent..but they clearly know if they go public they get what they want because the trading teams need to ‘get what they can’. CP3 has cashed many of paychecks from New Orleans. We just spent 5 months on a lock out being told it was to make smaller markets able to compete. So 1st trade out of the gate is an NBA owned small market team trading its star to the gorilla market of LA? No wonder the owners were pissed.

  11. diablito0402 - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    Ok cool, so if lakers dont get paul, then definetly knicks cant get him, and if they do, lakers will sue the hell out of the league, you dig.

  12. wherezwaldo - Dec 8, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    does this mean the Heatles are breaking up?!? wheres david yoko ono stern now…

  13. trey14jewels - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Hey owners, pick the lesser of 2 evils. Either CP3 gets traded to the Lakers now, or he signs with an even larger market in the offseason, the (just saying the name gives me a bad taste in my mouth) NEW YORK KNICKS. Pick your poison, and hopefully D12 goes to the windy city :).

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:28 AM

      If the Knicks sign Tyson Chandler they do not have the cap room to sign CP3 this summer.

  14. valman61 - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:16 AM


    Collusion is when private businesses work together to do something to increase profits for the industry, like nike and reebok working together to set the price for sneakers. The NBA is a collective league and have anti-trust exemptions so collusion holds no legal basis in this instance, due to the labor laws and collectively bargained agreement. It’s very technical, but in layman’s terms collusion is not an argument with any legal basis in a sports league with a collectively bargained agreement (which was ratified tonight).

    On a separate note, if the players took a drastic step and decertified and sued that this is collusion since the new labor deal didn’t technically begin yet, you’d have a solid point and the players would have a solid case, at least as far as I know not being a lawyer. At the end of the day the players would never ruin this season from a PR standpoint or blow up this entire deal over one trade from a financial perspective. So it’ll never happen.

  15. ishudbgm - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    I HATE the Lakers and I was hoping this trade would happen. As a fan of the NBA David Stern seems to be trying his hardest to ruin such a WONDERFUL sport. How could you block this trade, why would you block this trade…..the Hornets were gonna get Odom and Gasol and some idiot thought that wasn’t good enough. The NBA is best when there are alot of storylines like last year but I guess Stern didn’t see the ratings from last year. At my job everybody loves football but with BBALL coming back thats all anybody wants to talk about, today I heard at least 50 conversations about this trade and how the FANS love this stuff now these idiots cancel the trade.

  16. gilamu - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Maybe I’m cynical, but I can’t help but think that the league doesn’t the team in New Orleans, and would rather see the franchise move. That’s trickier now because of stronger season ticket sales, but if they can block trades, then CP3 leaves and the team gets nothing for him, as opposed to decent players and a pick for building. Quality of the team goes downhill, fans stop coming, benchmarks aren’t met, and some rich guy in another city makes a play for the team.

  17. glink123 - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    If I’m Dell Demps, I resign immediately. I call Stern and tell him to go f – c k himself.

  18. omniusprime - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Time for David Stern to be fired as NBA commissioner! Time to get rid of this owner hugging jerk who has repeatedly ruined the NBA. Where was this jerk when the big deals went to Miami? Oh yeah that was okay but allowing the Lakers to obtain Chris Paul is not permitted. Just one more reason I’ll be watching far less NBA and why I hate the league. It would have been great to watch Kobe team up with Paul on the court. Who cares about the loser Hornets, they have been a cursed team for the league where ever it’s been, time to junk the Hornets.

  19. mjay81 - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    … then Ashton Kutcher came and PUNK’D all the Laker fans.

  20. Rish77 - Dec 9, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    A CP3 to Boston trade would probably go through seeing as how New Orleans would get an all-star, some would say elite caliber point guard in Rondo and Rondo alone is a better rebuilding chip then Kevin Martin. It wont happen though CP3 will make it his goal to sign with LA as a UFA after the year if hes not traded there before that.

  21. havok82 - Dec 9, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    This was the worst thing Stern has ever done. I am a Celtics fan, and this was a bad move. Kill a Dwight Howard to LA trade, but not this one. This deal made sense. It didn’t overbalance the league in favor of LA. In fact, I’d argue LA was a LOT weaker after this trade. The one asset they had was big men and depth of their big men. After this trade? No way. CP and Kobe both have bad knees. Let them jack up 60 shots a night between the two of them. CP3, Kobe, Bynum, Metta W.P., and whatever other schmuck is going to play forward is not a great rotation.

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