I am still in shock that David Stern vetoed the trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. The inspiration for vetoing the trade is Dan Gilbert calling the trade a travesty? Seriously Stern, you are better than that. Or at least you were.
First and foremost, the trade is fair! The New Orleans Hornets receive three borderline All-Stars (Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Lamar Odom) for one superstar. The Los Angeles Lakers lose a perennial All-Star (Pau Gasol) and a borderline All-Star (Odom) to gain a superstar. The Houston Rockets gain a perennial All-Star (Gasol) and lose two borderline All-Stars.
How does a trade of this magnitude get any better? You are telling me it is better in the interest of the New Orleans Hornets to trade for Rajon Rondo straight-up, or to wait until their backs are against the wall and be forced to accept a lesser deal? Even worse, no deal could be made, and the team could get nothing for Paul.
Of course, the ringleader here is Dan Gilbert, the worst sore loser in the history of sports. I did not hear Gilbert stand up for the little guy when his Cleveland Cavaliers were the best team in the NBA regular season after regular season. I did not here him cry foul when his team traded absolutely nothing for Shaquille O'Neal and Antawn Jamison.
Again, Gilbert is nothing but a sore loser. He is no champion for the small-market team. He is the guy that could not make a champion out of a team featuring the best athlete on the planet. He is the guy who publicly ripped LeBron James, the face of his franchise for seven years. All LeBron did for that team was make them relevant, send the team to their first NBA Finals and drag the Cavs to deep playoff run after deep playoff run.
Gilbert, you had your chance to build a dynasty and you screwed it up. You thought it was a good idea to pair the bloated corpse of Shaquille O'Neal with LeBron James, whose game is predicated on getting to the basket. You thought it was a good idea to make Antawn Jamison LeBron's Scottie Pippen, even though at best Jamison is a poor man's LeBron. You could have traded for Amar'e Stoudemire but did not want to part with J.J. Hickson.
Just because you could not improve your team does not give you the right to stop other teams from doing so. Gilbert should concentrate on finding someone to build a contender around his newest top overall pick. You already screwed that up once. Leave the basketball decisions to people who know something about basketball.
As an NBA fan, I was excited to see Chris Paul team with Kobe Bryant. I am sure most fans (Lakers haters excluded) would agree with me. It would help take some of the pressure off Kobe, and could extend his career as he no longer has to carry the show. How could getting another elite year or two out of one the greatest to ever play the game be bad for the NBA?
Besides, the trade would not have made the Lakers a shoo-in to win the NBA Finals, or even get there. They would have lost 14 feet of length, which has been an advantage for them since they traded for Pau Gasol. The trade would have left them without a power forward, and with no backup center.
A Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant pairing would have been this generation's equivalent to Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan on the same team. Now, it is unlikely we will see that. It would have immediately added interest to the NBA after the lockout, which the fans deserve. Instead, we have been robbed.
Thanks a lot David Stern.