Chris Paul will not be a New Orleans Hornet next season. This shouldn’t be news to anyone. That is why I am dumbfounded by David Stern rejecting the New Orleans Hornets trade with the Rockets and Lakers.
Yes, David Stern is in a unique and difficult position, but his logic makes absolutely no sense. The Hornets are owned by the NBA while Stern attempts to find a buyer. His feeling that a Superstar player makes the team more attractive to buy is absolutely correct, but his logic that Chris Paul makes the team more attractive to buy is absolutely incorrect.
Let’s go back to the start of this post… Chris Paul will not be a New Orleans Hornet next season. Every single potential owner knows this, and therefore Paul is not a compelling reason to buy the team. Getting something worthwhile is a compelling reason to buy the team.
In a three team deal the Hornets would have sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets and Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to the Hornets. To me this isn’t a bad deal for the Hornets, who were a playoff team last season. The Hornets get three starters including a veteran leader, as well as a first round draft pick. I don’t see any better offers on the table, do you?
The true reason for the rejection of this trade is the fact that many NBA owners disapprove of it – stating that a major point of the lockout was to improve the competitive balance (which is a joke since it was really about money – otherwise a franchise tag would have been fought for). Owners are tired of the stars bolting small markets for large markets, and demanding trades. LeBron James left his hometown to play in Miami. Carmelo Anthony strong-armed the Nuggets to trade him to the Knicks. The major difference between the two scenarios: The Cavaliers got nothing in return, and the Nuggets got a nice package. Result: Cavs dropped to be the worst team in the NBA, while the Nuggets actually played better without Anthony.
Now this situation is different from the LeBron situation. The Cavs had a realistic shot of landing James and therefore it would be unheard of for them to trade James. The Hornets losing Paul for nothing would be similar to Orlando losing Shaq for nothing.
Getting something is always going to be better than getting nothing, and now it looks like the Hornets might get nothing. It has been reported that the Lakers have dropped out of the running for Paul.
The facts are simple – the NBA is never going to be competitively balanced unless: A) The league is contracted or B) Today’s college players all think like Kevin Durant.
Paul should be a Laker right now, although I did lose a ton of respect for a great player for the way he handled the situation.
[Photo Credit: thesportsbank.net via channel6newsonline.com]