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The tangled web of Chris Paul, David Stern, and the blockbuster trade that wasn’t

Dec 12, 2011, 2:57 PM EDT


Last Friday, David Stern — acting as some amalgam of both owner of the New Orleans Hornets and commissioner of the NBA — put the kibosh on a trade that would’ve sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, brought Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, and Lamar Odom to the Hornets, and shipped Pau Gasol to the Rockets. Those players would have significantly altered the futures of all three franchises involved in the deal, but thanks to Stern’s controversial decision, things have developed along a different timeline.

The ripple effects of Stern’s veto have been incredibly far-reaching, and upset the delicate balance of an already furious free agency period. Behold: an attempt to capture the 10-team, 28-player insanity that has resulted from Stern’s decision to block the Chris Paul blockbuster:


Chart made by Rob Mahoney.

See a full-size version of the image here.

  1. cantonbound13 - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Maybe Paul shouldn’t have represented the players in the lockout?

    • regacideking - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:22 PM

      This is insane. Sign the petition if you want to see David stern gone!

  2. drobstad - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Any chance David Stern gets fired or retires any day soon? Because he’s ruining the NBA

    • teke184 - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      Better than you’d think.

      Per Chris Broussard, “Union has told NBA if suitable CP trade not made by Monday, it will pursue other options, including litigation, sources say… ”

      If the union sues, they’ve got Stern dead-bang because of his direct handling of negotiations for CP3 trade. They can claim he intentionally spiked them to keep CP3 in NOLA.

      • somekat - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:23 PM

        You are obviously a lawyer!!

        The union has no chance in a suit. He signed a contract to play for the Hornets. The hornets are owned by the league. If they don’t want to make a trade, they don’t have to simply because Paul wants them to. If they blocked him as a FA signing, they’d have a leg to stand on. Requiring someone to work out the time the agreed to in a contract is not legal status for a claim, sorry.

        But hey, you have a good percentage of thumbs up, congrats on that

  3. sterko - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Clip it, Hang it, Klitch it

    Get a Klitch!


  4. bparmalee - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    My new theory is the Stern and the owners are setting the Hornets up for contraction next season after Paul leaves. They dont want them to make a good trade because that would make the them harder to kill. No one wants to buy the team and there really isnt a city to move it to. So Paul walks and then the league says “Oh well we tried.” Its the only thing that makes any sense.

    • b7p19 - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      There is one other thing that makes sense. The league wants to force a player of CP’s level to leave by free agency and take the 25-30 mil less than what he could have gotten by staying. If they trade him, he’ll get what he wants AND the max deal of 5 yr $100 mil. If they just hold onto him and let him leave he will have to take the 4 yr $75 mil deal (or whatever the max is). It a power play by the league and Paul will lose 25 million dollars becuase of it.

      The Hornets are the only team Stern can actually force to do this, so Paul and the Hornets lose bigtime. Only I’m not sure who wins, other than Sterns ego.

  5. ras1tafari - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    It seems like the NBA didn’t like the outcome of the CBA, so they are just ignoring it.

    Chris Paul requested a trade over a year ago, and the league is forcing him to play in NO. Now, Dwight Howard is re-thinking his trade demand, likey b/c he know the NBA won’t allow him to move.

    Just like Mike Wilbon said: “the NBA has a Plantation mentality”. i.e., You play where we tell you to play.

    • karlton2 - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      That’s not a plantation mentality, that’s a contract mentality. i.e. you play where you agreed to play for as long as you agreed to play there.

    • stropcity - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      If it’s a plantation, then every place of employment is a plantation. I go where my boss tells me to go too. Does that make it a plantation? It’s called a JOB.

      • davidly - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:53 PM

        You can leave your job for another employer if you want.

      • rooney24 - Dec 12, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        Actually, in a lot of jobs, you have to sign confidentiality agreements. Those often limited you from working in your same field, to prevent you going to a competitor. So, we can all quit (as the players could), but that doesn’t mean we can go out and get another job in our field.

      • davidly - Dec 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM

        Yes, rooney24. And those are the kinds of plantation jobs being referred to – of which b-baller is one.

    • goforthanddie - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      Requesting a trade diesn’t mean you automatically get one.

  6. jdillydawg - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Whatever happened to capitalism? I’m not a hardcore NBA fan. In fact, I pretty much only watch when the playoffs come around, but this lockout has me watching during the regular season now. Funny how that works.

    But how does one become a “Free Agent” and not have the ability to shop his talents around? Is Stern pushing socialism on the NBA? Hey, I get some markets are bigger than others and it’s about keeping it fair, blah blah blah. But killing this trade is like telling every team, “Look, doesn’t matter how you all do, you’ll all get trophies at the end of the season.”

    Let capitalism do its part.

    • somekat - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      Paul isn’t a gree agent, capitilists that sign contracts are expected to live up to them

  7. gtizzo - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Chris Paul is going to New York. David Stern will make sure of it, and is waiting for an offer from the Knicks. David Stern needs the knicks to matter again and come hell or high water he is going to make it happen.

    • goforthanddie - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      The Knicks haven’t mattered in years, the A is doing quite fine.

  8. barroomhero80 - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:55 PM


  9. gflo44 - Dec 12, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    please stop calling the laker trade a ghost one. as a rebuilding team, the hornets were receiving garbage. 2 30 somethings and young players that have been traded multiple times. y, if there so great? anyone with half a mind would rather have the cap space. now, clipper offer different story.

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:11 PM

      There would have had to be secondary trades to convert Odom/Martin/Scola into young players, but that was a lot more talent than most teams get for their stars.

  10. dannymac17 - Dec 12, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Trade who you can and move them to Seattle cause its painfully obvious Stern doesnt give two sh*** about the Hornets or the city of New Orleans.

    Who would do this to one franchise? The MLB would NEVER do this. This is the most atrocious handling of a sports franchise since the Gillete/Hicks debacle of Liverpool, except, they paid to be complete morons with no sense in running a franchise/club.

    Get this sorry mofo the hell outta here. The Hornets have a GM for a reason. Let him make decisions. Stern is a JOKE.

    • b7p19 - Dec 12, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      That pretty much sums it up.

  11. tdm7979 - Dec 12, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    I’m really getting sick of the NBA. What is sad is that Stern is going to completely ruin the Hornets and the League to follow. He should’ve took the lakers deal. He will not have received a better offer.

  12. wjoinfo - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Trade him to Denver for Tim Tebow…..

  13. sippindasyzurp - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Lockout anyone???!!!

  14. charlutes - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    People I hate in sports: David Stern, Rex and Rob Ryan, Tim Tebow, Albert Pujols’s wife. Congrats Stern, you win. Without forcing religion on me or barfing out diherea quotes every week, I still hate you the most.

  15. tampajoey - Dec 12, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Now with 2 Big Market teams down and the NY Knicks not having the pieces, Chris Paul’s options are sure getting limited since today’s NBA superstars are only willing to play in big market cities.

  16. dolphins4 - Dec 12, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Is Moe,Larry and Curly running the NBA?It makes no sense to keep holding up these trades.These trades can make both teams better.

  17. thatboi901 - Dec 12, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    All the “He signed the contract play it out ” talk is just bad business for both parties. Paul finishes the season with the Hornets he leaves them without them getting nothing and He loses 25 million. Nobody wins. Its clear that trade would be best for all parties involved.

  18. halflight420 - Dec 12, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    I don;t care about his contract, I actually believe that he should stick to it, but the precedent has been set in the NBA for not sticking to contracts, and from what I understand the league itself did not want to stick to player contracts they made, but thats whatever. The main problem I have with this is that is such an overt power play by the league, if teams agree to a trade, than who is David Stern to stop them?

    • Kurt Helin - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      Paul is sticking to his contract. That contract has an opt-out (player option) written in at the end of this year, and he has told them he is opting out and will not re-sign with the Hornets. That’s not violating his contract, that’s being honest with the team. Melo, LeBron also did not violate their contracts.

  19. wgward - Dec 13, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Paul should just hang in there until he becomes a FA, then leave free and clear, and stick it to Stern and “the league”!

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