What. In. The. Blue. Hell. Is. Going. On.
How David Stern still has a job this morning is beyond me. Seriously. Be-f***ing-yond me.
Unless you’ve been bunkered down watching a 24-hour marathon of “Ice Road Truckers” (totally possible), you know the story by now: Friday afternoon, the New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers agreed on a three-team trade which would send Chris Paul to Los Angeles, Pau Gasol to Houston and a bevy of others (Kevin Martin and Lamar Odom being the centerpieces) to New Orleans. By nightfall, in the most inexplicable move made by a commissioner in the history of American professional sports, NBA commissioner David Stern had nixed the deal.
“Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with with the Commissioner’s Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling,” said Stern in an official statement. “All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade.”
It’s as if Stern is on a vendetta to wash away all of the good feelings about last season along with his credibility and the reputation of the league as a whole.
Stern’s decision had nothing to do with the fact that owners were irate in the Board of Governors meeting with the commissioner. Or the fact Stern spent the past six months pedaling his competitive balance Big Wheel. Or the fact Stern is now a powerless coward who grovels at the feet of small-market owners. Right. And the fact I had a splitting headache this morning had nothing to do with the fact I was “over served” with alcoholic beverages last night.
The whole situation is ridiculous. And infuriating. Combining this with the lockout, it’s as if Stern is on a vendetta to wash away all of the good feelings about last season along with his credibility and the reputation of the league as a whole.
If I’m Billy Hunter, I’m organizing a strike and taking this BS to court. We don’t play until Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, Jac Sperling and anyone remotely associated with the Paul veto is gone. Seriously. So the system we spent months figuring out wasn’t good enough? So now Stern gets to play God at the bequest of bitter owners who are still pissed players get more than 12 percent of the BRI?
The most egregious part of this whole fiasco is that the deal wasn’t unfair. In fact, executives across the NBA were praising Hornets general manager Dell Demps’ haul and some wondered whether the Lakers paid sticker price for an item on the bargain rack. I texted my friend Joel (an big-time Lakers fan) when the initial news broke about the trade, and here’s what he said (cleaned up a little grammatically):
“I’m excited we got Paul because you can actually see Derek Fisher decomposing on the court. But Pau AND Odom? Our biggest advantage over the past three years is we could literally put three nearly 7-foot guys on the floor without one being out of position. Unless [Lakers general manager] [Mitch] Kupchak has some Sandusky-level blackmailing material on [Magic general manager] Otis Smith and can pull Bynum for Dwight…I don’t love it.”
Breaking it down, I didn’t exactly love the deal for the Lakers either. CP3 is great, the best point guard in the NBA when healthy, but people are dismissing Pau Gasol as if he’s not one of the 15 best players in the world. Using John Hollinger’s Estimated Wins Added as a barometer, let’s do a complete breakdown of the trade:
Lakers get: Chris Paul (18.3 WWA in 2010-11)
Rockets get: Pau Gasol (17.9 EWA)
Hornets get: Kevin Martin (14.2 EWA), Lamar Odom (10.5 EWA), Luis Scola (8.3 EWA), Goran Dragic (1.4 EWA)
Using my rudimentary math skills, it seems like the Hornets got a pretty good deal here—far better than what the Nuggets got for Carmelo Anthony last season and certainly better than holding him hostage all season under the stupid hope he would decide to stay in New Orleans.
As one executive told Yahoo!‘s Adrian Wojnarowski when speaking about re-engaging the Hornets in CP3-deal talks, “Truly feel for those guys, but we’re all gonna lowball them now.”
Even the argument that the Hornets are trading away one of the most recognizable superstars in the NBA and aren’t getting anything in terms of name recognition is stupid. What, did you expect the Lakers to send them Kobe? No one in the Chris Paul derby is willing to give up anyone of consequence because most see Paul as the final piece to their championship puzzle. The Lakers are trading away the second and third best players from a team that could have three-peated last season. You’re not doing any better than that. And thanks to David Stern and his gambit of petulant owners, the Hornets are in a position to do a whole lot worse. As one executive told Yahoo!‘s Adrian Wojnarowski when speaking about re-engaging the Hornets in CP3-deal talks, “Truly feel for those guys, but we’re all gonna lowball them now.”
In the end, I have a feeling Paul will end up with the Lakers in a slightly re-tooled version of the initial deal. By now, Stern has probably realized the utter idiocy of his veto and is working behind the scenes to get an insignificant piece added (probably draft picks) to the deal to save face. CP3 will be a Laker, Gasol will be a Rocket and a plethora of talent is headed to New Orleans.
The problem is we should have never been here in the first place. By listening to the vocal minority, Stern ruined his credibility, the credibility of the league itself, and tied Dell Demps’ hands together in the process.
Keep up the good work, Commish.
Week 14 NFL Picks (Picks in CAPS):
Last Week: 9-7
This Week: 1-0
This Season: 92-93-9
|@ NY JETS||-10.5||Kansas City|
|NEW ORLEANS||-4||@ Tennessee|
|NEW ENGLAND||-9||@ Washington|
|TAMPA BAY||1.5||@ Jacksonville|
|SAN FRANCISCO||-4||@ Arizona|
|@ GREEN BAY||-11.5||Oakland|
|@ SAN DIEGO||-7||Buffalo|
|@ Dallas||-3||NY GIANTS|
|@ SEATTLE||-6.5||St. Louis|
Fan Hub Action
Marcy Kelly June 12th
Wow! I must have listened to a completely differnt press conference. Oh, wait- you convinently left off all of the good things they just got…
Nathan Devine June 5th
The dude is nasty. The fastball is REAL heavy at 97-100. Steady improvement every year.
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
June 18th, 2013 3:14 PM
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