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Cavaliers’ owner emails David Stern to block Chris Paul trade to Lakers

Dec 9, 2011, 12:58 AM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

The three-team deal that was in place to send Chris Paul to the Lakers was killed by the league late Thursday, presumably at the behest of a group of small-market owners who loudly protested.

One such owner was Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who emailed the commissioner directly to express his feelings on the matter.

Thankfully, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports obtained Gilbert’s email in its entirety, which reads as follows (no, we are not going to reproduce it in Comic Sans):

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.

It’s interesting that we never heard any similar protests to trades from “Dan G.” when he had LeBron James leading his team to the league’s best regular season record in 2009 and 2010, isn’t it?

The bottom line is this for small-market owners lacking the superstars necessary to make their teams currently relevant: You chose money during the lockout over competitive balance. Had you gone for both, you wouldn’t have a season right now. Since you chose money, the players got to keep control over where they could play once they became free agents, thanks to the system rules (like luxury taxes and mid-level exceptions) which would allow the larger-market teams to spend what they wanted to get those star players.

The deal for Chris Paul that was in place was not unfair to the Hornets. It may have been unfair to the rest of the league, especially if it was a building block for the Lakers to trade for Dwight Howard next. But the small-market owners signed up for this when they went for the cash grab in the lockout instead of choosing to fix the league’s competitive balance issues.

The protest may have worked this time, because the league has ownership control of the Hornets. But the Lakers still have all of their assets in place to now go and trade for Dwight Howard. Only this time, there won’t be anything that the league or its small-market owners will be able to do to stop it.

  1. spunjmunke - Dec 9, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    “Dan Gilbert is a horrible person”? Why? Because he stood up for himself and the other owners that were too passive agressive to do it themselves? Because he saw that this is wrong and he voiced his opinion? Jeez, I hope none of you people ever have to stand up for yourself in a forum that doesn’t involve a fake web identity.

  2. delsj - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    This is my favorite quote: “That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing” In other words, you are taking away my bonus for keeping my team cheap and crappy.

    • ljl2 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:40 AM

      Have you looked at Cavs payroll due to taking on salary in trades that benefit them? not being cheap…

  3. leearmon - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Here’s a tip for you Gilbert, instead of acting like a jealous, bitter ex-girlfriend. Understand that the Lakers are run like a well oiled machine in regards of their front office decisions. So while you stand by and trade for Wally Sczerbiak, Ben Wallace, Antawn Jamison etc. The Lakers were giving up two good to very good pieces for a top 3 player in the league, all the while saving cap space. To quote Jay-Z, “Don’t knock the hustle”. Im a die-hard NBA fan, but its increasingly difficult to continue to defend the absurdity of this league and its actions to casual fans that are friends of mine. David Stern you need to get a hold of these owners YOU let into the league, and other owners (lets not call them small market owners because Cleveland is technically the same market size as Miami) if you have a problem with how your team is doing, don’t try to ruin another team due to envy, just take notes.

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

      Well said.

    • hystoracle - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      Not hard to be a well oiled machine when you just outspend everyone else. See NY Yankees.

      Much more impressive to be a small market team competing and beating the big boys like Oklahoma City. Reminds me of the Rays.

      • 1historian - Dec 9, 2011 at 4:39 PM

        “Not hard to be a well-oiled machine when you just outspend everyone else.”

        True enough

        What’s wrong with that?

  4. southbeachtalent - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    Here’s a thought Gilbert… How about you worry about your crappy line-up? Just a thought..

  5. omniusprime - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    What a billionaire trust fund crybaby Gilbert is wrecking the Laker’s Paul trade because the Lakers would reduce payroll and he’d get less corporate welfare from Jerry Buss. I’ll be rooting for Gilbert’s Cadavers to go 0-66 this season. Time to stop coddling losers like Gilbert. Time for Stern to do the NBA the biggest favor he can, resign!

  6. asublimeday - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:21 AM

    I still don’t understand how giving up size to pair an overrated PG with an over-the-hill SG makes the Lakers better.

    • cjpunk15 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:28 AM

      Over-the-hill SG… you probably think LeBron is clutch too.

  7. nelle - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    I didn’t support the owners in the lockout, but this was the right call by the NBA. The only thing worse than a trade to the Lakers would have been letting it stand. The NBA needs to find an owner for NO and soon, so at least someone can make decisions for the team with its best interests in mind.

    I agree the Cleveland owner deserves no sympathy here; the elements of the trade are quite enough to shoot it down.

  8. lucky5934 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    I guess if Gilbert can not have a super star, no one can huh? Seriously though, I doubt GIlbert was the only one who asked the trade to be blocked. I am sure their were other, less spoken owners, who also did not like the trade. Unless Stern owed Gilbert one for allowing Lebron to embarras the Cavs like he did.

  9. ljl2 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    I guess most of you missed that Gilbert wasn’t the only one who contacted the league, just the only one whose letter happened to be leaked…

  10. jeffro33 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    This is why the NFL is so popular- any team can win on any given Sunday, a team in any market can win a championship in any season…

    It’s not all about NY, LA, Miami, Chicago, and the inmates don’t run the asylum…

    Take Notes NBA. Way to come out of a labor negotiation.

  11. hbdbrowns33 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Gilbert sent that email AFTER the league already vetoed the trade so hope of dudes nuts

    • hbdbrowns33 - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:49 AM

      Adrian Wojnarowski
      As for Dan Gilbert email obtained by Y! Sports, timestamp shows he didn’t send to Stern until after 10 PM ET. Trade already had been killed.

  12. dadawg77 - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    Anyone know if the font of the email was comic sans?

  13. hystoracle - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    If this email was sent to the commissioners office. How did it get made public? If I was an owner I would be irate if confidential communications with the league get fed to every media outlet. Unless Gilbert wanted it to be “leaked”. Which is a real possibility with his actions over the past 24 months.

  14. jbthedon - Dec 9, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    On one hand Gilbert has a point the league is turning to a bunch of Washington Generals but on the other hand the owners had their chance with the lock out. So how can you complain about the trade when you just accepted the CBA. Makes no sense.

  15. philtration - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    I am not a Lakers fan in any way but I do know that there is a reason why they have won so many titles and are expected to compete for one year after year.
    If being a big market team is all it takes then why have the Knicks and Nets gone so long without a title?
    Is Houston the favorite to win it all this year?
    What was the last time the 76ers won a ring?

    The guy that changes the urinal cakes at the Staples Center creates more buzz than the Cavs do.
    Don’t cry and whine that it is unfair because they are much better at running an NBA team than you are Danny.
    We are all witnesses.

    • nelle - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      Lakers have spent way over the cap for years. While the Knicks tried, they had Isaah calling shots… enough said there. LA also has a built in advantage because of locale.

    • silencegooddoer - Dec 12, 2011 at 1:24 PM

      I think the Knicks were bad because of the crack-adict GM Thomas running it into the ground and sexually harrassing the organization’s employees. Where the hell was the legue when this was happening? Can’t slip anything past old eagle-eye Stern. I think the Knicks have turned that page and are ready to write a new chapter.

  16. mashoaf - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Glad to see that a team is trying to get under the salary cap that was put in place and another teams owner is bitching that he will loose money since the team is trying to get under the cap. His email doesn’t read of him caring about the players involved in the trade. If he did care about the players then he would have bitched about his own trade of Shaq to Cleveland for Ben Wallace, since it was not competitively balanced. But no this is Gilbert being a business man and being mad that he will loose money over a trade that will put the Lakers payroll down under the Salary Cap Luxury tax threshold.

  17. leearmon - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Mr. Gilbert, not every small market team considers themselves the Washington Generals. Don’t believe me? Try asking the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies for starters.

  18. sportsfaninoc - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Dan G is acting like a jilted lover. Get over losing lebron and build your team. Start with a better GM and make the Cleveland Cavs a team players would want to play for; take a lesson from Oklahoma. Look at how they are building a great team in a small market. Right now if I’m a good player I wouldn’t want to play for Dan G.

  19. florida727 - Dec 9, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Kind of ironic… during the lockout I was solidly behind the owners. The players are nothing but employees and as such have/had zero leverage. Post-lockout, I’m squarely behind CP3 on this one. He can play wherever he wants… just like an employee can go to work for whoever he wants. The best argument made on here, by several posters, is that if the trade gets nixed, Paul walks after this year (just like LeBum did last year), and New Orleans gets nothing in return… just like Cleveland got nothing. THAT probably pisses off Gilbert more than anything. He wants N.O. to go through the same agony he stupidly brought upon his team and the city of Cleveland. Misery loves company, huh Dan?

    • southbeachtalent - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      I have always been behind the players, after all they represent the working class.

      The players took a 2 billion dollar hit (about 20% of their take home) but did not budge on this very subject. They wanted to be able to keep their options open. The league agreed. Then this happens…

      How many free agents will Dany be picking up??? I would venture to say none. Atleast that are any good. What a whiney, spoiled, entitled, jealous, self serving a-hole this guy is. I actually feel sorry for Cleveland. Sell your team douche, maybe a competent owner will revive that dumpster of a team.

  20. toegoat - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    I can’t stand Gilbert or whining Cleveland fans (all 6 of them) even more.

  21. harango - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Here’s an idea from a Miami Heat…

    Remove the option to trade all together and allow players to go play where they want to when they become a free agent. If Lebron, Wade, or Bosh, or any of the heat players wanted to go play somewhere else like Chicago (Wade’s hometown) he should have that right…for teams that are in small markets…you can’t force superstars to play for you if they don’t want to..no matter how much money you throw at them. I’m glad everyone finally sees what a a$$ Dan Gilbert is and understands why Lebron chose to go play where HE wanted to play when he became a free agent…..just my opinion!

    • harango - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Meant to say Miami Heat Fan..

  22. bozosforall - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Dan Gilbert just succeeded in unvilifying LeBron James. Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

  23. bozosforall - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Didn’t see Gilbert whining when the NBA rigged the lottery so that he could draft LeBron. And yes, it was most definitely rigged.

    • jbthedon - Dec 9, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      Good Point

    • ljl2 - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      Gilbert didn’t own the Cavs for another two years after that… so that probably explains why you didn’t “see” him “whining” (generally, I hear whining, I don’t see it).

  24. drakost - Dec 9, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    This just in, the Washington Generals have just filed a grievance against Dan Gilbert stating that they have been defamed by Gilbert alluding to the fact that they are as bad as the Cavs.

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