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Report: Wait, Jason Smith actually killed the Chris Paul Lakers trade? Pack it in, civilization ends here.

Mar 24, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

Chris Paul AP

Yes, we’re still talking about this. Forgive me, I’m just as tired of it as you are. But for the unrighteously indignant…

So one more time with feeling, the Lakers, Rockets, and Hornets had agreed on a trade last December. Chris Paul goes to the Lakers, Pau Gasol goes to the Rockets and magically solves all their problems, and a bunch of older players on the decline and a Knicks latter-half first-round pick go to New Orleans. Then Emperor Stern came in and ruined everything because he hates the Lakers just hates them and vetoed the trades as acting commissioner of the NBA because Dan Gilbert wanted him to and because, again, he hates the Lakers.

That’s the popular sentiment which is in no way rooted in fact.

(Reality: Stern vetoed the trade as acting owner of the Hornets, a move which Mark Cuban said at the Sloan Sports Analytic Conference was not uncommon in any way for any anowner, surprise surprise, because it took on long-term money for marginal players in pursuit of short-term gains in the win column while sacrificing long-term flexibility which is pretty much the worst way to rebuild ever. Fin.)

But there’s something that’s stuck with analysts for a long time. Trying to construct that trade? It left a big old salary hole. There was a missing component. The numbers do not compute. Error, error. I’m sorry, I can’t do that trade, David. The assumption was that they would have found a way around it, but the reality is with the salary situations of all three teams, that was going to be difficult.

And now late Friday night, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the big hang-up was actually… Jason Smith. That’s right.

The principal pieces of the original three-team deal were indeed all agreed to: Paul would be going to the Lakers; Pau Gasol was bound for Houston; and New Orleans would be receiving Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic, along with a 2012 first-round draft pick from the Rockets that had been previously acquired from the New York Knicks. But based on that trade construction, sources say the Lakers would have been forced to absorb another $3 million more in salary to make the cap math work.

The teams involved concluded that the best way to solve that issue would be for the Hornets to sign and trade Smith to the Lakers as part of the exchange. The Lakers, however, were prepared to guarantee only the first year of the three-year deal required in all sign-and-trades. Sources say Smith promptly rejected that offer, believing he should hold out for a longer-team deal, then had his decision vindicated when the Hornets later offered him a three-year deal worth $7.5 million with the first two years fully guaranteed.

via Weekend Dime — Scouts on Lakers, Knicks and more – ESPN.

So Jason Smith refused a sign-and-trade because he knew he was worth more money which he then in fact got and that meant that there actually wasn’t a framework in place. So now David Stern has vetoed a trade that wasn’t actually in place because it wasn’t actually possible under the proposed conditions because, again, he hates those Lakers (who he once said he wished could play against themselves in the Finals because it makes so much money for the league). So he vetoed a non-existent trade which was blocked because Jason Smith… again, Jason Smith knew he could get more money on the open market.

(Note: Jason’s played rather well for two seasons in New Orleans despite wide fluctuations in his role and playing time, it’s just amazing that he’s the linch pin in this thing.)

Bring back the lockout, I’m done.

  1. losangelasbasketball - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Not buying it…

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      Me neither. Just some BS trumped up FOUR MONTHS LATER — I might add — to vindicate Stern. The trade was nixed for a reason, and everyone knew THEN. Why this nonsense NOW?

  2. sellahh - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    What kind of retarded article this is, I don’t even-
    They’d have found a way around the not maching salaries so it obviously was not Jason Smith killing this deal so why do you post that kind of bullcrap in the title? I don’t know if you’re delayed or what but you seem to get the point that the people who killed this trade were Dan Gilbert and the owner of the Hornets who also turns out to be the comissioner of the league so why this? And the ‘I’m so tired of this line’ makes this all the more hilarious. Jesus

    • 440shane - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      You really need to get your facts straight before bashing some people that you obviously have a biased hatred for. Gilbert’s email to Stern was sent hours after Stern had already nixed the deal and the fact that it as Cuban who actually spoke directly with Stern prior to the trade getting rejected. Everyone loves to blame Dan Gilbert and paint him as this whiny, entitled billionaire owner (which he can be) but in this instance it wasn’t him. Mark Cuban (whom everyone seems to love and say he’s great for the league) was the most outspoken owner on this whole thing. So please next time you want to throw your two cents in, make sure it is at least accurate and not some trumped up prejudice.

      • ljl2 - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:37 PM


  3. chiadam - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    I love when David Stern leaks information that makes his league look less like the WWE.

  4. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Stern acting like Jay Z when he found out Dame Dash appointed Cam’ron president at Roc-a-Fella. SMH

  5. tcclark - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    I hate stern as much as the next guy, but not for this. That traded would have killed the Hornets franchise. it would’ve stuck them in the exact same position as the Rockets – too bad to make the playoffs, too good to get any better.

    The deal he pulled from the Clippers was 10 times better and will make this a scary team in the future with Eric Gordon and 2 lottery picks in this deep draft. Stern made the best move for the franchise

    • adzs93 - Mar 24, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      I’m guessing the majority of the thumbs down on this comment come from Lakers fans lool the 100% consensus among us Hornets fans who care for the wellbeing of our team as opposed to that of the purple and gold is that the trade would indeed have been terrible for our long term future, and left us mired in mediocrity for years to come…by vetoing and clearing the way for a deal with the Clippers Stern has allowed us to forsee a much brighter future, and dreams of a threesome of say Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Cody Zeller next year to go with our current young core next season can actually come to fruition if the lottery goes our way…Not to shabby at all…

      • tcclark - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:01 PM

        I agree 100%. and I’m not even a Hornets fan…

  6. ddaughtry81 - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Gordon is not staying and they have tried to trade Kaman. They essentially got the Minnesota pick for Paul, which may not being that good. Not a good trade rebuilding or not. They should have did the 3 way trade. Stern was banking on Gordon and the pick. It will probably be a pick between 17 – 20.

    • tcclark - Mar 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      Gordon is restricted. He’s not going anywhere. Even if they don’t resign Kaman, Gordon, Aminu, and that First, was still better than Martin, Odom, and Scola, and the Knicks 1st. With the first one they can rebuild. With the second, they are a cap-stretched fringe playoff team with no room to improve.

      Minny’s not making the playoffs so that pick will be in the Lottery. They’re looking at about the 12th pick right now. More importantly though, the Hornets are bad enough that they are looking at a top 3 pick of their own. Martin, Scola, and Odom would’ve had them in the teens.

  7. ispysomething7 - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Matt, please use spell check next time. Thanks.

  8. jmclarkent - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I think the goal of this leak was to make sure that Jason Smith was hated by both LA Teams equally.

  9. narlo00 - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Who cares?! We have sessions AND gasol.. Sessions is either playing amazing basketball or he’s playing average and I’m too used to the 3 points and 2 assists from fish every night. I loved fish and he’ll be certainly retire his jersey with LA but I’m lovin me some sessions right now..

  10. jedifriedchicken - Mar 24, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Yeah, I don’t see why Stern would feel the need to stick his neck out to squash a trade that he didn’t agree with when it already did not have the legs to stand on.

  11. lakerluver - Mar 24, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    At this point who cares? CP3 may be a more talented pg than Sessions but I like the LAKERS just as they are right now. I think by the end of this season it’s going to be evident that all Sessions needed was a legit chance to shine. Playing with Kobe, Pau, and Bynum, he has that chance. The way he’s played thus far makes the LAKERS very tough to beat in a half-court game, which is what the playoffs are all about. OKC, Miami, and to a lesser extent, Chicago, are all perimeter teams. The only balanced teams with a chance to win it all are the LAKERS and Spurs.

  12. ezmagic - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Matt Moore must be a laker fan. Get over it chump. Cp3 is coming to Orlando after next season in D.will doesn’t come down here. Clippers have no chance at a title. Either PG with D12 = contender every season.

  13. lakerluver - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Perhaps Stern actually did make the best move for future of the Hornets. However, visions of that team ever winning anything significant are pretty far fetched.

  14. Hope Wabuke - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    I feel bad for Chris Paul…he just lost out on winning a championship with KB…Go Session! and @iam7andiwillgiveu6

  15. tebowmagic - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:26 PM


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