As this brief offseason in the NBA has come to a dramatic end, one of the main points of interest has become the league's blocking of a Chris Paul trade that would've sent him to Los Angeles and some young talent and a first-round pick to New Orleans.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has been receiving a lot of flack for writing an email to NBA Commissioner David Stern in which he called the trade a "travesty." He went on to explain that the trade not only gave the Lakers one of the best players in the league, but also a lot more financial flexibility that would allow them to go after other high-quality free agents.
Regardless of what you think of Gilbert, he definitely has a point. He also has a financial responsibility to keep Paul on the Hornets.
The Hornets are owned by the NBA. As such, every NBA franchise owner has a stake in the Hornets until a permanent owner buys the team. Gilbert helps pay the salary of Stern and Paul, so his writing to Stern about wanting the league to bar the trade is in his best interest.
It's not like Gilbert is the only one who opposes the trade either—he was just the only one to write to the commissioner in disapproval.
Some cynics argue that this is Gilbert's way of expressing his dislike or disapproval or LeBron James and applying it to the league.
The real reason, however, has everything to do with the Cavaliers and a few other of the "small market teams" in the NBA. When a team like Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks or New Jersey Nets create a "superteam," they provide revenue that helps to support teams that under the "luxury tax" line.
That's how it's supposed to work anyways.
The fact of the matter is, by acquiring Paul, the Lakers are getting $21 million off of their books and would be under the luxury tax line.
Teams like the Cavaliers are losing money with the rise of "superteams" in the NBA. Gilbert has a right to protect his Cavaliers and speak out against a trade that potentially hurts the profitability of small market clubs like his Cavaliers.
Does this move make players respect Gilbert less? Sure. However, Gilbert has every right to swat down the Paul-to-LA deal because he and 28 other owners all voted that it shouldn't happen.
What should be blamed is the system. If Gilbert and the other owners don't have to be financially responsible for New Orleans and its assets (Chris Paul included), then they can't bar deals that benefit other teams. That's the way the cookie crumbles.
Don't blame Dan Gilbert. He's doing what he feels is his best financial interests.
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