After a crazy day, the NBA lockout has certainly become a distant memory of fans. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the NBA will block the proposed three-team trade between the Lakers, Hornets, and Rockets that would have sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles.
Key details are still unknown. Why did the other owners want to block the trade? Which owners led the charge? Is it possible for Chris Paul to be traded to any team considering the Hornets are owned by the league?
Regardless of the details (assuming there is no hope of this trade or of a similar trade happening), this is a baffling decision by the NBA.
The proposed trade wasn't highway robbery. The Los Angeles Lakers would be giving up Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in order to acquire Paul. Was it fair in the sense that each team would benefit equally? No, but New Orleans was never going to get comparable value to Paul.
By all indications, Paul will not stay in New Orleans after this season if no trade occurs. Rather than getting virtually nothing—like Cleveland did with LeBron James or have constant drama hang over the season like Denver had with Carmelo Anthony—General Manager Dell Demps was proactive.
He found a trade that would have given the Hornets Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom and a first round draft pick.
Now it is certainly reasonable to argue that the Lakers-Rockets deal was not the best available. Personally, I would have tried to move Paul to Boston for Rajon Rondo or to the Clippers for young talent and Minnesota's first round pick they own.
It's hard to quantify the best deal. The point is that the Lakers offer was fair considering the circumstances the Hornets face with Paul. It would not have been pleasant to let him go, but making the proposed trade would have benefited the team considering he won't play for them in the 2012-2013 season!
Dell Demps made an intelligent decision that seemed easily defensible. Apparently, the NBA disagreed.
While I am purely speculating at this point, I imagine the objection stemmed from the rift between big and small-market owners that was revealed during the lockout. As an outsider, this decision seems spiteful.
I wonder, if New Orleans had a deal to send Paul to Minnesota, what the league's reaction would have been? I'm guessing the trade would have been approved.
The NBA is a star-driven league. The top talent has considerable amounts of power. It sucks that fans in cities like New Orleans have to go through things like this. The truth is that if Chris Paul wants to play in a big market, he will.
The Hornets found a way to benefit by granting Paul's wish a year early. It's sad the NBA didn't see it this way.