For the second time in less than a week, a trade that would send point guard Chris Paul from the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets to Los Angeles has fallen through, and once again, commissioner David Stern is the reason.
Just days after Stern blocked a deal to send CP3 to the Lakers (who were willing to give up Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol in a three-team deal with Houston), the Hornets were once again back at it trying to wheel and deal the soon-to-be free agent, once again finding an interested buyer in the Southland. The Los Angeles Clippers stepped to the plate, working to create a package that would team up Paul with human highlight reel Blake Griffin. Instead, Stern upped the asking price to a point where the Clippers back out, and here we are.
You know something was amiss when the Clippers looked like they might become a contender. David Stern, however, was forced to raise the asking price at the 11th hour from the league-owned Hornets. Part of the controversy over killing the Lakers deal involved the fact that if the Hornets don't trade Paul, he leaves as a free agent after the 2011-12 season with New Orleans receiving zero compensation for his services.
When Stern, at the behest of other NBA owners, vetoed Hornets-Lakers-Rockets trade, he said the deal was nixed for "basketball reasons." As a result, the Commish painted himself and the Hornets into a corner. Stern must now as for a kings ransom and then some for Paul after turning down what was a more than reasonable offer from the Lakers. As a result, the initial offer made by the Clippers was deemed unacceptable, and Stern (yes, a league commissioner now negotiating a trade on behind of the Hornets), upped the anti. In fact, in this story from ESPN.com about the Hornets-Clippers trade, the name of the New Orleans GM isn't even mentioned. Why? Here's why...
At the NBA's direction, sources said, New Orleans was insisting upon the inclusion of both shooting guard Eric Gordon and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round draft choice in addition to former All-Star center Chris Kaman and prospects Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe.Just re-read the first four words of that paragraph again:
The Clippers found the demands "too steep," according to one source close to the process, even after Paul told the Clippers he would invoke the 2012-13 option in his contract as part of the trade, ensuring that L.A. would have him next to Blake Griffin for at least two seasons.
At the NBA's direction...This is an atrocity. Fans of both the Lakers and Clippers should be outraged in Los Angeles. Hornets fans must worry whether or not they'll get anything for the lone bright spot since the franchise moved from Charlotte. And the rest of the NBA should be terrified of even attempting a trade now the league is making the "fairness" of trades its business. Teams win and teams lose in trades. It's not the leagues place to attempt to make it "fair" for everyone. And the fact that the NBA must now ask for a new starting five for Chris Paul just to save face after blocking the Lakers trade is a farce.
David Stern should be forced out, not by the 29 league owners he works for, but by the fans. Stern has a responsibility to act in the best interest of the game itself, not the 29 owners who have a loophole into the management of a team with a superstar on the verge of free agency. The commissioner is no longer acting to serve the game or the fans. He has abused the trust of both, and for that, his time at the top of the NBA must come to an end.