Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Hasn't Forgiven David Stern for Chris Paul Trade Veto

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Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Hasn't Forgiven David Stern for Chris Paul Trade Veto
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Why yes, Los Angeles Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak, does hold grudges.

Speaking at an event for Lakers season-ticket holders, Kupchak took the opportunity to laud NBA commissioner David Stern, who will retire this February, for the job he's done since taking over—with the exception of "one moment."

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
Stern cost the Lakers Paul.

"He's done so much for this [league with] his vision," Kupchak said, according to the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus.  ". . . We'll miss him, with the exception of one moment."

That moment Kupchak is referencing dates back to December 2011, when Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent Chris Paul from the then-New Orleans Hornets to the Lakers. Soon after, Paul was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers' in-house rival.

"Have you forgiven him for that one moment?" asked Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz, who was moderating the event, per Pincus.

"No I haven't," Kupchak responded.

Of course he hasn't. How could he? Kobe Bryant sure hasn't, after all.

The Lakers would be in a completely different situation if Stern didn't interfere with the deal Kupchak orchestrated nearly three years ago.

Acquiring Paul would have cost the Lakers Pau Gasol, but not Andrew Bynum, the foundation of a Dwight Howard trade that would take place eight months later. To think, if it wasn't for Stern, the Lakers may have had Kobe Bryant, Paul and Howard in tow last season.

What happens after that would've been anyone's guess.

Maybe Kobe and Howard don't butt heads alongside the NBA's best point guard. Maybe the Lakers don't struggle to make the playoffs. Maybe they contend for a championship and both Howard and Paul re-sign over the summer. 

Maybe the Lakers are still a powerhouse today.

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Oh, what could have been.

We'll never know. Because of Stern. And you better believe this is on Stern. The NBA was an acting owner of the Hornets back then and it was him who initiated the trade's destruction.

What would the Lakers look like today if Stern never vetoed the Paul trade?

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"It definitely was David," a source close to negotiations told the New York Times of who made the ultimate decision.

There you have it, Lakers fans. As if there weren't enough current wounds for you cauterize while anxiously awaiting Kobe's return, Kupchak has reopened some old ones for you.

Just don't harp on them. Nothing will be gained from living in the past. Wallowing in outdated self-pity won't put Paul in purple and gold.

So while you're free to never forgive, make damn sure you're trying to forget.

 

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