It appeared that Chris Paul was headed to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday afternoon as part of a 3-team trade involving the Hornets and Rockets, along with the Lakers. Shortly after this deal was agreed upon, the NBA swooped in and blocked the trade. The reasons for why the league decided to veto the trade are up for interpretation and depend on your opinion. It is clear, however, that because the NBA currently owns the Hornets, they have the right to block such a trade.
It was initially reported that there was pressure from owners throughout the league to kill the Chris Paul deal. Late Thursday night/early Friday morning, an email from Cleveland Cavaliers' owner, Dan Gilbert to commissioner, David Stern, was leaked.
Here's the email:
It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.
This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.
Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.
I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).
I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.
I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.
When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?
Now, I think that Dan Gilbert makes some valid points and it seems odd for an NBA owned team to be trading their superstar to a huge market mere days after a lockout that was supposed to restore some sense of competitive balance. I'll have more reaction to this in the morning, after some much needed sleep.