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The Houston Rockets have not gotten over the Pau Gasol trade falling through

Dec 18, 2011, 2:12 PM EDT

Spain's Pau Gasol looks at the timeboard

It was supposed to be different this time. After years of trying to trade for a legitimate star or sign one in free agency and having it fall apart at every turn, the Rockets were going to land their big fish. It was there on the table. It was agreed to by all parties.

And the league blocked it like Hakeem turning back a runner.

Everyone’s moved on. Chris Paul is a Clipper. Preseason games are in full swing. The Lakers brought in Troy Murphy… OK, so the Lakers haven’t really moved on. But the Rockets? The Rockets are soooooo mad  you guys.

From the Houston Chronicle:

By then, the person said, Alexander had no interest in speaking with Stern and has declined to speak with him since.

The Rockets had hoped with the added cap space to sign Nene, who instead returned to the Nuggets. With the bolstered front line, the Rockets intended to bring back Chuck Hayes to a roster they believed would then be in position to contend in the West.

“You can say he (Alexander) was very angry,” said the person, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He was on the phone with Daryl too many times that day to count. When the deal finally got done, he got a call from Daryl saying the deal was done. Afterwards, the commissioner said he didn’t think the deal was done. It was amazing. Daryl is extremely efficient and does things the proper way. Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been in the league 30 years and has made countless deals and thought the deal was done. Mitch Kupchak thought the deal was done. There was no question in his Alexanders and Daryls minds the deal was done.”

via Source: NBA commish lied about failed three-team trade that involved Rockets – Houston Chronicle.

The primary source of anger is because the Rockets and Lakers thought Demps had complete control to make the trade. And then he didn’t. Again, from the Chronicle:

“He said that David was briefed and that it was a done deal,” one of the individuals with knowledge of the talks said. “He (Demps) said multiple times that he briefed both of his local officials, (Hornets president) Hugh Webber and (Hornets chairman) Jac Sperling, and they and Dell at regular intervals were updating (NBA vice presidents) Stu Jackson and Joel Litvin and that they told David himself throughout the day. Also, Hugh and Jac, who were updating the league office, understood it to be a deal.”

via Source: NBA commish lied about failed three-team trade that involved Rockets – Houston Chronicle.

So the teams involved said it was done, and that the league office had been informed of the deal and was fine with it, and then wasn’t. That seems an awful lot like the league talked to some of its owners and the owners flipped out and cancelled the trade, which is something David Stern vehemently denied on a conference call following the Chris Paul Clippers trade. Stern reiterated that while Demps had authority to negotiate a deal, the final say rested with the league.

But again, if that was the case, why was the deal brought along so far?

On the other hand, here’s a question for the Rockets. Why are you so upset over this? Yes, you would have had Pau Gasol, which is a big name. But you still would have had to talk Nene into taking one-year less, or else paying an outrageous amount for him long-term. He and Gasol would have likely hit their downslide in similar timeframes, meaning you’d potentially have $35 million-plus wrapped up in two guys past their prime. And with the leftovers of your roster, where were you really going? Is Kyle LowryTerrence WilliamsChase Budinger-Pau Gasol-Nene really going to win the Western Conference? Is it going to get out of the second round? I’m not convinced it makes it out of the first. Anyone remember the last time Pau Gasol was the man on a playoff team without Kobe Bryant?

The Rockets have kept their flexibility. Maybe this move was to give the Rockets some push in terms of short-term success, but it didn’t provide a long-term answer. This could wind up being a blessing in disguise if they play their cards right.

  1. goforthanddie - Dec 18, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    They shouldn’t have to be over it. I really wish Paul/the union had followed through with the lawsuit they had gift-wrapped.

  2. bigkatvik7 - Dec 18, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Sue the NBA. What a complete joke.

  3. jvnyj - Dec 18, 2011 at 6:06 PM


    • ludachrisgsx - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      The Lakers/Rockets/Hornets nixed trade was NOT a bad deal for New Orleans. It wasn’t great, but it was certainly not bad – and definitely not bad for the position the Hornets were in. They would have easily had a more competitive team than they did when Paul was there had that trade gone through, or at least just as competitive, and they would have had pieces they could use to trade to get even better. Yes, the Clippers trade was probably a little bit better for them because of the added draft pick and younger prospects, but please people, stop saying the Lakers deal was bad for the Hornets. It was not. They could have traded some of those players to get younger if they wanted to and been in a similar position as they are now. It came down to Stern’s agenda and politics, not about which trade was better.

      The fact is, Stern got involved at a time where he had no right to meddle. The deal was agreed upon by everyone involved and was announced – by killing it, Stern highlighted a massive conflict of interest and showed all of the general managers around the league that Demps actually did not have the power to make a trade, which contradicts what everyone was led to believe beforehand. Sure, deals get shot down every year, but never like this. This was truly a slimy move by Stern and one that cost the Lakers and the Rockets dearly. Whenever you announce a trade and show your hand to the players that you’re trading, only to have it reversed, you’re going to be in a terrible position – both with the players and with leveraging other trades. The NBA looks a lot more like WWE at the moment.

      What Stern did was border line fraudulent and should be questioned for years to come. He pushed his agenda through at a time when he had no right. Wojnarowski has a great article on the debacle:

  4. dafranchise03 - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    Blessing? The Rockets owner doesnt want to rebuild so the only way is to trade. How long do the Rockets have to wait till they find a high caliber player they can trade for without any young assets. Blessing my ***. They need a change in direction and this didnt help.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 19, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    LOL at the morons who still think Paul had a case to sue the NBA. Listen, knuckleheads…I’ll say it again. There is no right to be traded to whichever team you want. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. If Paul was so adamant to play for the Lackers, the court would have simply said this…”Mr. Paul, you can play your final year in NO and then sign with the Lackers via free agency. Oh, what’s that? You will get less money and years to play for the team you wish to play with? Well, sir, you will have to take that up with your union as they agreed to the CBA that governs the rules of free agency. Thanks for coming out now stop wasting the court’s time.”

  6. roninthepost - Dec 20, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    When McHale finds his big man you should watch out. Either of the Gasol brothers would have made Houston dangerous.

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