NBA Rejects Trade of Chris Paul

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Yesterday, Chris Paul was reportedly traded to the Lakers in a 3 team deal. At least that was what everybody thought until NBA Commissioner David Stern rejected the deal citing “basketball reasons”. Stern stated the decision was made independently of input from other owners, however it has been reported that some owners complained and that was what ultimately lead to the trade being blocked. These owners felt that the trade benefited the Lakers, who would have added another star and they didn’t want another small market team to lose their star to a large market team.
Normally we don’t do this here, but it’s soapbox time. The fact that Stern has insulted everyone’s intelligence by saying that this was a basketball decision made independently of other whining owners is completely mind boggling. This sets a horrible precedent in the league. It basically advocates the rejection of a trade the league feels benefits a large market over the smaller market even though all teams are part of the league. In this trade, the Hornets were receiving 4 players and a draft pick. That’s 5 for 1 folks. The Lakers gave up an all-star and the reigning sixth man of the year to pull off this deal. How the hell is that not fair? Also the other owners adding their opinions about matters that don’t concern them needs to stop. Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers, was one of the outspoken opponents of the trade. He complains about competitive balance now, however when Lebron James was in Cleveland you heard nothing out of him. To paraphrase ESPN writer Bill Simmons, it’s like these owners knew nothing about the league before they overpaid for their crappy team. Of course the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks and Bulls generally get the pick of the litter. They are legendary franchises. Players want to play there and as long as this is America they will have the right to do that. You can’t penalize a team for being savvy. Gilbert essentially wants the same thing that happened to his team, to happen to the Hornets. The star doesn’t sign an extension and simply leaves and their former team gets no compensation. Thats just not smart. The owners whining about the large markets aren’t taking into account teams like the Spurs, Thunder or Grizzlies. They are highly competitive and at the end of the day there is only one champion. So the idea that because a small market team doesn’t win the title means the balance is off is a foolish argument. Leagues thrive on dynasties. You need both the Davids and Goliaths. So to try and legislate where players can play would yield a result opposite of the leagues intention. No offense to these teams, but if the Bucks, Cavaliers and teams like them start winning a bunch of titles the league will suffer. The casual fans identify with the legendary franchises and the league has made a mint off of it. Maybe sensible heads will prevail and realize that blocking a legitimate trade is in direct conflict with the principles that the NBA flourished under. But until then, SMH.

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