NBA commissioner David Stern and a small fraction of the league's owners have proven that intelligence really should never be taken for granted.
Apparently, according to ESPN, Stern has decided to nix a proposed trade among the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets which would ultimately make Chris Paul a Laker, at the request of several irate owners.
Never mind that the framework of the deal in question appears to be in line with the rules established in the NBA's brand-new collective bargaining agreement.
You see, the NBA owns the Hornets and all those owners saw was another elite player going to a major-market team, but what is the alternative?
This rogue attempt to create competitive league balance illegally could backfire in a number of ways, and ironically Stern's hasty move to quash the Paul deal could probably hurt the Hornets much more than it helps them.
For instance, what happens when Paul becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012 and the Hornets face the prospect of losing him for nothing?
Not to mention the dangerous precedent the league is setting by killing a deal just because a few owners don't like it.
Do we really want to see a league that is arranged and shaped on the opinions of a few owners who may just be acting out because they were not able to negotiate a clause that prevents this very type of player movement?
Those issues raise enough questions on their own, but the fact that Stern and the owners decided to kill a deal that was bad for the Lakers is icing on the cake.
Houston may have gotten the short end of the stick since they would have theoretically lost Luis Scola and possibly Kevin Martin while only getting Pau Gasol in return.
But when it comes to the Hornets and Lakers, New Orleans may hate parting with Paul but at least they were set to receive Lamar Odom, Scola or Martin, and maybe both of them as well as draft picks.
That seems a lot better than what the Hornets will get at the end of next season if Paul is still on their roster.
And I'm wondering if Stern and the owners happened to notice that the Lakers destroyed two-thirds of their interior in the pursuit of Paul.
I feel like Gasol and Odom are a high price to pay for any point guard, even Paul.
Along with Andrew Bynum, Gasol and Odom form what is arguably the NBA's most dominant front line and that unique advantage is more valuable to the team than Paul.
The Lakers' move to acquire Paul while gutting their interior seems to suggest there will be a few more deals down the road, and most eyes have settled on Howard.
But not if this rumored deal breaker holds up, because the league surely couldn't justify a deal for Howard after this.
In fact, this action from Stern and the owners to block this deal may really only be a rumor, since there is no justifiable cause, and it doesn't make sense.
If the owners were just going to make their own rules as the shortened regular season approaches, then why did we endure such a long lockout in the first place?