What is David Stern thinking? If he knew anything about basketball, he would know that the New Orleans Hornets didn’t get shafted in this trade. If anything, the Los Angeles Lakers were getting worse, not better. Even the Houston Rockets were satisfied with losing a lot of their offense. Not letting the trade go through due to it being a “basketball decision” is complete BS. If anything, the Hornets got the BETTER of the deal and here is why:
Chris Paul said that his “heart” is in New Orleans, but yet he didn’t want to be there. I can understand that. You have been in the league for six seasons, entering your seventh, and are one of the biggest stars in the NBA. You put people in the seats at home games. But you have only made the playoffs three times and gotten out of the first round one time. You helped the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. You might go down as one of the best point guards of all time. To me, this is sort of like Albert Pujols surprising the world and going to Los Angeles, except that Paul has not won two titles because you need at least two main players on a team, nowadays, to win a Larry O’Brien trophy. The city of New Orleans has known that Paul has been somewhat frustrated with New Orleans management and their inability to give him some help. New Orleans is also at a disadvantage because they are a smaller market team. Not many stars want to play in a small market. The best player Paul has played with has been David West, who might be headed to Boston in the next few days. No offense to West, he was an all-star, but he is not someone who can be the second option on a title-contending team. So why didn’t Stern let the Hornets become a BETTER team? Answer is simple:
Currently, there is no owner of the Hornets franchise. That being said, the Hornets are owned by the NBA (aka Stern). Stern’s case for vetoing the trade is that “no one would buy the Hornets if Paul was not on the team. Paul being on the Hornets makes them a more ‘desirable’ team to buy.” Ok Stern, we understand that logic, but Paul is going to leave New Orleans after this season is over so don’t you think the Hornets would be better suited to trade Paul and get a more “complete” (my word) team? Look at what each team was receiving:
Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Paul
New Orleans Hornets: Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, and a first-round pick
Houston Rockets: Pau Gasol
Let’s be honest: Kobe Bryant has maybe three years left of being a “game-changing” player. Andrew Bynum has not shown that he can be healthy for an entire season. Chris Paul comes in and revives the Lakers for the first two years, and maybe there is a slim chance of the Lakers acquiring Dwight Howard, but the Lakers have no assets left to trade for him. The Lakers were not able to re-sign Shannon Brown. If the Paul trade had become “officially” official, their current roster would be this: Bryant, Paul, Bynum, Derek Fisher, Jason Kapono, Darius Morris, Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, Derrick Caracter, Devin Ebanks, and some unsigned rookies. That roster doesn’t have nearly the depth it would if Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom were still on the team.
The Hornets roster would become more complete: Scola, Dragic, Odom, Martin, Trevor Ariza, Brian Butch, Patrick Ewing Jr., Jarrett Jack, Emeka Okafor, Quincy Pondexter, DaJuan Summers, Terrico White, and unsigned rookies. I like that team a lot more because they don’t have just one player (Paul). They have Martin, who can score with the best of them, Scola, one of the most efficient players in the league, Odom, a supreme 6th man, and Dragic, can either start or be a backup.
I feel the Rockets even got a great deal in this. They have a lot of young talent that was behind some of the players they would like to dispose of. Patrick Patterson has serious potential to become a solid power forward in this league. They acquired Jonny Flynn last season and I feel that he could be really good. Chase Budinger came on strong late last season. Terrence Williams still has potential; they drafted Marcus Morris, Dontas Motiejunas and Chandler Parsons. Don’t forget, they still have Jordan Hill and Courtney Lee. When you add Gasol to that team, I feel they would be very competitive and could even make the playoffs. Gasol still has a lot of basketball left in him and he would bring a lot of much-needed experience to a young team.
Every team in the trade got better, for the time being, and what they wanted. O.K., I am sure that Gasol and Odom didn’t want to leave the Lakers, but they could vastly improve the teams that they were going to. Bill Simmons said it best “I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the end for David Stern. He really caved in.”