In one of the most incredible few hours in recent memory, Chris Paul was the centre piece of a three team trade that included several top line players which was ultimately vetoed by the NBA.
The trade that had been agreed in principle essentially meant Chris Paul would join the Lakers, Gasol would move to Houston and New Orleans would receive Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola along with a first round pick Houston obtained from the Knicks. The winner of the trade is really up to opinion.
The deal was supposed to have been done and would have been completely come December 9 when the NBA was officially back to business, but given the perhaps main theme of the lockout was avoiding super teams and creating a fair league for all teams, not just those with bigger markets (New York, LA, etc), it seems the owners and the NBA wanted to save face. After the deal was reported several owners filed complaints with the NBA and David Stern, who own the New Orleans Hornets and have significant power in trades, prompting Stern to demand the Hornets refuse the trade and take it off the table.
The reaction has been mixed league and nation wide, with many believing the Hornets struck a good deal. They had been much more interested in deals with the Clippers and Warriors, but these teams refused to offer their prized assets of Eric Gordon and Stephen Curry respectively, thus ending any chances of acquiring Paul. Many believed the Lakers were again taking advantage of their stature and ripping off the Hornets who had little other offers for their superstar (I am one of these).
The general consensus from everyone outside of LA was that the lockout had achieved nothing, that players still controlled their destiny when under contract, not their teams, and that big market teams were always going to end up with the league’s finest talent.
Training camp begins tomorrow and Chris Paul faces the unenviable task of heading back to New Orleans to play for a team he clearly wants nothing to do with. Paul is expected to report to the team’s facilities tomorrow, just as the Lakers will expect Gasol and Odom and Houston their troupe of attempted tradees.
The future for Chris Paul is now more than in doubt. The Hornets were largely seen to have done extremely well with the deal they struck and were unlikely to attract anything better around the league given the hinderance of teams like the Clippers and Warriors to include their prime youth pieces in any deal. Paul has made no secret that New York was his no.1 destination, but they didn’t have nearly the trade pieces that the other contenders had around the league, thus ruling their chances close to 0. Now that this nonsense has happened the offers will be of much lower quality and much more seldom.
This may bring the Knicks back into the fold. If this deal is dead in the water, like it appears to be, it will all but end the Lakers’ interest in Paul, meaning the Hornets face a bigger headache in dealing him. It’s likely Paul told many of his potential suitors he would only sign a contract extension with a team like the Lakers that could contend for a championship whilst also offer a big market. That would mean the Hornets’ willingness to trade Paul will be hindered by the fact he will not commit to resigning with the team is he traded to, further narrowing their options.
New York may be the Hornets’ only choice. We all know Stern won’t be rejecting that trade.
Tags: Basketball Chris Paul David Stern Golden State Warriors GS Warriors Houston Rockets Kevin Martin La Clippers LA Lakers Lamar Odom Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers NBA New Orleans Hornets New York Knicks Pau Gasol