Back in December, the Lakers thought they had acquired Paul in a three-team trade with the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets, making their team the one to beat in the Western Conference. Then the league killed the deal and Paul ended up with their crosstown rival, the Clippers.
Here are some ways the Lakers could have fixed the trade so that David Stern might have let it go through.
Mitch Kupchak, General Manager of the Los Angeles Lakers
After the deal was initially vetoed by the league, the smart thing to do would have been to bring another team in on the trade so that New Orleans could have gotten more draft picks and players for their point guard.
However, none of them ended up entering into the trade, probably because they weren't able to get the specific pieces they wanted. If the Lakers had been able to get that fourth team, they would probably have Chris Paul right now.
Originally, all the Lakers gave up in the trade to get Paul were two players—no draft picks, no cash, just two players.
Those two players were Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. It would seem like giving up a star and a really good role player would be enough, but evidently it wasn't.
The Lakers should have thrown in more, including their draft picks and any players that any of the teams might have wanted, except for Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum. Everyone else should have been on the table.
Eventually, the Lakers backed out and decided to try for Dwight Howard, which hasn't worked out yet. Hopefully they don't go too cheap on that one like they did here.
After the league vetoed the deal, the three teams resubmitted a deal that they hoped would be accepted by the league. Before they could find out though, the Lakers backed out and decided to focus on Dwight Howard.
If any franchise is capable of using its muscle to get its way, it's the Lakers. They should have made a big fuss about things and forced the NBA to react to them.
They had pretty good grounds. After all, the NBA did interfere in a trade between three teams just because the owners of the other teams didn't like it.
The Lakers should have tried much harder rather than giving up and hoping for Howard.
The Lakers should have scrapped the Rockets if they wanted to get this trade done.
The trade pieces that the Rockets had were too old—and not really good enough anyway—to be worth Chris Paul. A team like Utah, Minnesota or even Cleveland would have been better than Houston.
If the Lakers could have found a way to get the Hornets' young talent, Stern would not have nixed the deal because it would have built toward the future rather than sticking the Hornets with pretty good players for now.
The sure-fire way to have made this trade go through would have been to include Andrew Bynum in the deal.
Granted, it would not have been a good trade for the Lakers to give up both big men for a point guard. However, it would have guaranteed that they got Chris Paul.
Plus, they might have been able to get a guy like Luis Scola or Emeka Okafor out of the deal to help fill the void.