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Don’t expect the Lakers to throw David Stern a going away party

Nov 11, 2013, 2:47 PM EDT

David Stern AP

Around the league we are just starting to see the tributes to David Stern come in, when he is in town teams are publicly honoring the man who has been the NBA Commissioner for 30 years. The New Orleans Pelicans gave him a framed jersey this week, opening night the Sacramento Kings gave him a key to the city.

On Feb. 1 Stern will step down (although he will stay on in kind of a consultant role). The tributes will pick up steam as that date nears — there are a lot of owners indebted to him because of how much money he made the as their franchise valuations have skyrocketed over his term in the big chair.

But don’t expect a halftime tribute from the Lakers.

Not that Buss family are not Stern supporters who benefitted greatly from his time in power, they have. But it all comes back to one thing: Vetoing the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers. Remember in 2011 right after the lockout ended the Lakers, Rockets and then Hornets had a three team deal where CP3 ended up a Laker and Pau Gasol a Rocket. Stern nixed it.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak summed up the feelings of Lakers fans well at a recent season ticket holder event, as reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.

“He’s done so much for this [league with] his vision,” Kupchak said. “. . . We’ll miss him, with the exception of one moment.”

Kupchak was referring to Stern’s scuttling of the Lakers’ trade for Chris Paul in December 2011, at a time when the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans) were without an owner and being operated by the league.

“Have you forgiven him for that one moment?” asked Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz, moderating the event.

“No I haven’t,” Kupchak answered.

Neither have Lakers fans, especially as they watch their team struggle through rebuilding while the Clippers are discussed among the league’s elite.

I can hear your arguments already — David Stern did what was best for New Orleans (which the league owned at the time) and things worked out better for them. Go ahead and say Stern made the right move if you want.

It’s moot — that’s never how it will be seen from the Lakers side of things.

If they brought Stern out and presented him a Lakers jersey during a game it would rain boos and beer cups down on the court.

  1. unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Nov 11, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    I’m not a Laker hater- like most fans outside LA- but who gives a rats ace what Mitch Kupchak thinks about Stern retiring? Seems we are due for an update on Kobe’s injury rehab or maybe an interview with the Staples Center Concessions Manager on his thoughts about Dwight Howard leaving for Houston. I will do my part and refuse to click on any more posts about the Lakers.

    • kb2408 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      Dude, wake up, the LAKERS have more fans “outside” of the city they play in than any team has. Go to any city in America and you will find LAKERS fans. Maybe it has something to do with those 16 championship banners and 10 since 1979. Accept it.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        Lakers fans are mostly #bandwagoners.

      • musician0785 - Nov 11, 2013 at 8:31 PM

        unlike Miami heat fans…right?

      • bb91103 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        What’s wrong with bangwagon fans? Do you get a special discount if you supported a losing team for 10 years and now they are good? Or do they treat you like every other fan who bought tickets. As a matter of fact, they probably care more about bandwagon fans because those people will spend money unlike the other cheap arses who just whine and whine and whine.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Did a Heat fan, just call the Laker fan base ” Bandwagoners”..???? ROTFLMFAO!!!! Pot, meet kettle. You have GOT to be Lead foot “Trolling”. The nerve!! SMH!!!

      • galaxycontrol - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Anti is a BANDWAGON cHeat fan. I should know i witnessed it on the ESPN boards. Stop trolling Lakers articles Anti. I see you’re still up to your same crap.

  2. therealhtj - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Love him or hate him, Stern’s done a lot for this league, and under his stewardship you can’t argue the results.

    The league going forward though is not in an enviable position. They’ve now created a system where you’ll have over half the teams tanking for draft position every season as even rich markets can no longer spend their way into contention. Middle class players will struggle to find work while stars will continue to eat up most of the cap space and conspire to play with other stars.

    Rather than stand up to the players and take away their precious guaranteed contracts this is what we’re left with – a system where mediocre teams will go out of their way to become awful in hopes of lucking out in the draft. It’s really the only thing they have any control over.

    Way to dilute the product Commandant Stern! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    • bb91103 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      Hate him.

  3. bucrightoff - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Strangely all non-Laker fans will always view Game 6, 2002 WCF as David Stern’s ultimate gift to the Lakers organization.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      And we view the Kings’ play outside of Bibby in Game 7 of that series as an even bigger gift.

      • spthegr8 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        ^^^^^ LLS!!!!^^^^^^^

    • dinofrank60 - Nov 11, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      Then what was game five of the 2002 WCF?

  4. asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    As a Lakers fan I still haven’t forgiven him for that either. As a basketball fan, I still haven’t forgiven him for screwing over fanbases in cities like Seattle, Vancouver, Kansas City, San Diego and more.

  5. bballhistorian - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Must be a die hard laker fan, Kurt

  6. redsghost - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    or the Gasol “gift”. The Lakers won championships due directly to Stern, why not the love?

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      How was that a gift? The Grizzlies built their current team directly from that trade. Didn’t Marc Gasol just win DPOY?

      • redsghost - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        ANY time a team wins championships directly due to involvement by the commish, it’s a GIFT.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        You do realize that David Stern didn’t force the Grizzlies to make that trade right? Chris Wallace made it on his own free will? And it was actually a really good trade for the Grizzlies?

      • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:02 PM

        In that case, Red, you must despise the Celtics.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      The Grizzles got the right’s too Marc Gasol with that trade. In case you haven’t noticed. He’s pretty good!!! They also wanted to get rid of Pau’s contract. Worked out well for both teams!!

  7. spthegr8 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    It SURE would be nice too have Cp3 instead of Nash, who is as fragile as my mother’s old china cabinet. Just Sayin”!!!!!!

    • spursareold - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      Nash has had back problems for a decade. The Lakers knew this.

      • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        Breaking his leg at the start of last year did him no favors.

      • spthegr8 - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        ^^^^^ I never said they didn’t, I just stated what is PAINFULLY obvious. @ this stage in Nash’s career, he is gonna be off the court, more than he is on it.!!!…..^^^^^^^^^^^^

  8. eugenesaxe1 - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I have no sympathy for the Lakers, but Stern had no business vetoing that deal. The team was being run by someone he personally hand-picked, that guy made the deal, it should have been honored.
    Having said that, it’s going to be nice seeing the Clippers enjoy a few years of being the top dog in town.

    • bb91103 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      The Lakers nor their fans need, want, or ever asked for anyone’s sympathy. They simply want to see their team win. The only people who give sympathy are outsiders who think their opinion (or insult) will have any effect on Lakers fans. It is purely something amusing for Lakers fan to watch. “How are you goona hate from outside the club. You can’t even get in”.

    • galaxycontrol - Nov 12, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      By top dog do you mean early playoff exits ? Past 2 seasons Clippers have exited the playoffs the same as the Lakers. Clippers are not a CHAMPIONSHIP team.

  9. McFaddensPulledHammy - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Wasn’t part of the reason he nixed the trade “to keep stars from leaving teams in small markets for teams in big markets”? How the he,, is southern LA a small market? The other GM’s didn’t like the Lakers getting another “superstar” so they pressured him to nix it. Plain and simple.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      For the record, Stern nixed the trade as the owner of the Hornets because he said it wasn’t a good enough deal. Nobody really believes that was it, I know people around the league rallied against it, but that’s Stern’s logic.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        The funny thing is, its not like the Clippers trade has worked out much better. Gordon has barely played in 50 games for the Pelicans, Kaman was kind of whatever for them, Aminu is what he is and it’s mostly whatever, and that first round pick turned into Austin Rivers who hasn’t even been whatever for them.

      • spursareold - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        Odom is out of the league and a druggie, and Pau looks like he’s on his last gasp, if we’re going to play the “how it turned out” game.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:18 PM

        “Pau looks like he’s on his last gasp”

        Pau went to the Rockets in the vetoed trade.

      • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        One might also argue that the owners lobbied Stern to veto the trade and Stern simply used the excuse that it was bad for the Hornets. N.O. didn’t get anything much better dealing Paul to the Clippers. The decision was entirely political.

        Trying to keep teams from stockpiling stars, a la Miami, is another excuse, but this was a trade, not stars migrating via free agency as James and Bosh did. Trying to keep teams in large media markets from being dominant is pretty thin, too, since Paul still ended up in L.A.

      • 00maltliquor - Nov 12, 2013 at 2:19 AM

        …not to mention Pau isn’t anywhere close to his “last gasp”. He’s playing good.

  10. bballhistorian - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    A look back on the 12/8/2011 PBT post of the VETO…

    Now almost 2 yrs later:

    CP3 goes to Clips…later compensated into Steve Nash,
    Dwight comes to Lakers,
    Princeton-style offense,
    then Mike Brown gets fired,
    and gets replaced by another Mike in Dantoni,
    picking him instead of “the guy who won 11 titles as a coach”
    Mamba tears Achilles
    Dwight leaves lakers
    Lakers—currently bottom-feeders in the West (in terms of talent)
    Clippers—currently championship-contenders in the West (after getting Doc Rivers, JJ Reddick, etc)

    So i can see why Lakers GM still wont forgive Stern.

  11. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Nov 11, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    He’s ultimately the one most deserving of blame for the fact that the Lakers have a Finals banner from 2002, so somwhow I can’t quite find the pity. I’ll save that for teams like the Kings and Sonics(oh wait).

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      “He’s ultimately the one most deserving of blame for the fact that the Lakers have a Finals banner from 2002”

      David Stern isn’t the reason the Kings shot 50% from the free throw line and 10% from three as a team in Game 7.

      • bucrightoff - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        But he is the reason the Lakers shot 27…27.. you read that right twice, let me say it again…TWENTY FREAKING SEVEN free throws, not in a game, not in two games, in 1 quarter. Read that five times and try not to have your head explode.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Last time I checked David Stern has never been a referee so I think you might want to reconsider that statement.

        Even if you do accept the idea that David Stern would risk alienating his paying customers like that, the Kings lost Game 7 at home and did it by being outplayed by a better team. They shot 50% from the free throw line and 10% from three.

  12. bballhistorian - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    But in terms of the trade itself, the TIMING was very, very, very, very bad! The league just came off a 5-month lockout…basically designed for players and teams to not do what LeBron, Wade and Bosh / Carmelo + Amare did in 2010/2011.

    Owners wanted parity so they can compete, and Lakers brass basically said “F-the owners”, make this trade happen! Also remember that CP3 was on a team owned BY THE OWNERS at the time. Lakers basically put Stern in a tough position…yeah making the trade wouldve helped a very big media market, etc…but wouldve have also defeated the entire purpose of the whole lockout. So Stern did what he had to do…side with the owners.

    And that’s how the cookie crumbles….

    • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      The Lakers put Stern in a tough position? Stern’s hand-picked guy to run N.O. made that trade. Stern over-rode him at the urging of other owners. Miami caused the lockout and cost owners millions of dollars. The league didn’t want it to look like the lockout was an utter waste of time and money (even though it was very obvious to everyone else), so Stern happily played the hypocritical stooge and vetoed a perfectly legal trade. But in your eyes it was the Lakers fault for trying to get better while Stern flailed about showing the world how not to run a league.

  13. antistratfordian - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Are Lakers fans still sour about that? They ended up with Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. They’re not allowed to complain about misfortune.

    Also, CP3 probably would’ve left just like Dwight did anyway.

    • therealhtj - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      The Lakers got fleeced on Nash almost as bad the Sixers got it with Bynum. Laker haters need to forget about that one when talking about all the supposed “special treatment” the league gives LA.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        Stop it. Bynum is a nobody who didn’t even play a game for the Sixers because of his knees.

        Nash is a hall of famer, two-time MVP, who was still an elite PG and relatively healthy when the came to Los Angeles. He played well enough last year to win some games for the Lakers.

        Not even remotely similar.

      • asimonetti88 - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        “Bynum is a nobody”


      • antistratfordian - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        I meant that in relative terms, asimonetti88 – compared to a hall of fame legend like Nash. Players like Bynum come and go.

        I’m not saying he’s Bob Sacre.

    • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      “Misfortune?” Another word that doesn’t mean what you think it means. Misfortune is finding out your kid has a disease. Torpedoing a perfectly legal trade by the guy you picked to run the club your league owns because another team cornered the market on superstars is manipulative and hypocritical, neither of which is anywhere near “misfortune.”

      • antistratfordian - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:58 PM

        No. That’s just from your perspective as a Lakers fan.

        It was partly due to poor timing, hence bad luck – or misfortune. If they tried to make that trade before the lockout it probably wouldn’t have been vetoed.

        And maybe on a whim Stern would’ve fought in favor of the trade – in that case the Lakers would’ve been fortunate. But the opposite happened.

    • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      “Are Lakers fans still sour about that?” For a guy who has claimed he talks to more Lakers fans than Lakers fans do, you sure don’t know anything about the team (or any real Lakers fans).

      • antistratfordian - Nov 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM

        It was more of a rhetorical question. Yes, I know Lakers fans are sour about that – they’re sour about everything.

    • spthegr8 - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      “Are we still sour about it”…….HELL YEAH!!!!! It was BS!!!

      • antistratfordian - Nov 11, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        Well, I don’t think it would’ve made a difference. Because like Dwight, CP3’s first choice was not the Lakers, but also a New York team. And potential conflicts with Kobe probably would’ve driven Chris out just the same.

      • spthegr8 - Nov 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        That’s Speculation but Cp3 is a team guy and Howard is a ME guy. Never know how that would have worked out but I would have MUCH rather had Cp3. Just Sayin”!!!!

      • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM

        “Conflict.” Yet another word that doesn’t mean what you think it means. Once again anti shoots from the hip and hits his foot.

        2/24/12 ESPN-
        Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant have discussed playing together before.

        While wearing the same colors at all-star games and for Team USA, they’d talk about how unstoppable they’d be if ever on the same team.

        “We won’t lose,” Paul says.

        “I don’t have to change that much,” Paul said. “Kobe is a really good shooter. He can create, and when I create I can kick it out to him and he’s able to hit open shots. It’s fun playing in the All-Star game and in the Olympics with him.”

        The NBA wouldn’t let Bryant and Paul play together on the Lakers, but Paul’s son and Bryant’s daughter got to play together, too, at the last All-Star game:

        “At least lil @CP3 and baby Mamba can play together NBA can’t veto this one Ha!,” Bryant wrote.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM

        “That’s Speculation but Cp3 is a team guy and Howard is a ME guy.”

        CP3 is a team guy that likes to play with other team guys. Just because you’re a team guy doesn’t also mean you’re willing to put up with a black hole like Kobe.

        And CP3 is still a “I need the ball in my hands in the most important moments” guy. In the 4th quarter he reduces his passing and shoots more because he has a reputation there as a closer. Somewhere along the line he and Kobe were bound to butt heads.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:16 PM


        That’s what everyone thinks BEFORE actually signing up with the Lakers. Talk to them again after they’ve been there.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:27 PM


        That is primarily because Kobe is not the same player on Team USA as he is in L.A. On Team USA he defers and has no desire to lead the team or a game in scoring unless absolutely necessary. On Team USA his only concern is contributing in any way he can towards a win. This was Chris Paul’s main playing experience with Kobe – also Dwight’s.

        “But he doesn’t defer in Los Angeles!” – Captain Obvious

        I’ve said this over and over again – before and after the fact – Kobe needed to play with Nash/Dwight/Gasol the way he played on Team USA. If he did that Dwight would still be in Los Angeles and the Lakers would be title contenders.

    • bb91103 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:27 PM

      And you know this because?????

  14. mimaiheatdynasty - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    The Chris Paul trade cost them Dwight. He would have stayed if CP3 was there.

    • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      The downvotes on this prove that facts are irritating things to some people. It is no secret that Howard and Paul have wanted to play on the same team for some time.

  15. rabbdogg - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    why do u haters call the pau tradea gift?.. yall stupid..they traded mark gasol…but never a mention of the garnett “gift” to the celtics with kevin mc saying he would trade him only to the Celtics and never to the lakers..haters see only what they want to

  16. azarkhan - Nov 11, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    The Lakers and their fans hate David Stern? Well, now I hate him a little less.

  17. kb2408 - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    What ticks me off is since the Little Dictator vetoed a brilliant deal the haters have come out of the wood works with “no other stars want to play with Kobe” and “Jim Buss is terrible.” Well, I don’t recall CP3 saying he didn’t want to play with Kobe. As a matter of fact, he was ecstatic upon finding out he was going to the LAKERS. And had the deal not been vetoed, how would Jim look as an owner now? And don’t give me that crap about it was all Mitch.

  18. spursareold - Nov 11, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    CP3 would have taken one look at what the Lakers had, and what assets they had to acquire more players (essentially zero) and taken a powder, just like Dwight did.

    • Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      The team that had just won back-to-back titles in ’08/’09 and ’09/’10? Yeah, no assets there. Chris Paul might come off to many as arrogant but he’s nowhere near as underhanded and manipulative as Howard.

      If Stern hadn’t vetoed the Lakers’ trade for Paul then he would have been on the team when they pursued Howard. But in your narrative he wouldn’t have been an asset, either.

  19. Anoesis - Nov 11, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Owners: We just had a lockout that has cost us millions of dollars in order to keep teams from manipulating the system like Miami just did. What do we do about the Lakers trading for Chris Paul?

    Stern: I know, I’ll manipulate the system and veto the trade.

    Owners: Okay, thanks.

    Yeah, as a Lakers fan that makes me want to give that hypocrite a big fat kiss. And let’s get one thing straight here: Without Magic and Bird and their epic battles in the 80s no one ever knows Stern’s name.

  20. losanginsight - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    So Stern felt that he had to veto it since
    Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman,and what ever a Al farouq Aminu is a better deal..than a deal that would have sent the Pelicans
    Goran Dragic, Kevin Martin, luis scola, and a 2012 1st round pick.
    The Lakers will still win ring #17 before the “contending” clippers ever see a Finals apperance.

  21. losanginsight - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    p.s..if this trade did go threw KB24 would have retired with 7 rings.

  22. losanginsight - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    So D Stern (the owner) felt that a package of an injured Gordon, Kaman, and Al Faruq was a better package than Scola, Dragic, Kevin Martin, LO, and a 1st round pick? I wonder how much he was paid off by the other owners to not let this deal go down.

  23. danrrtx - Dec 15, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    No matter whether you love Stern or hate him, or love the Lakers or hate them–either way, what he did as commissioner of a professional sports league in that moment of time was no way to act. It should not be forgotten so easily.

    Perhaps he did what he thought he had to do in the moment because of the timing of the lockout negotiations. But no matter there either. Altering the course of the work of so many franchises under the guise of nebulous “basketball reasons” when the General Manager of the Hornets was baffled and even part and parcel of making the deal was extremely wrong. Considering Stern’s position, it was straight up tampering and I have a feeling that Stern even knows that himself. It was a dark moment and may mark his tenure as commissioner forever.

    No fan of the league should forgive Stern for making that move, and that’s not limited to just Lakers fans either.

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