The trade that sent Chris Paul to the Lakers would have forced the Lakers frontcourt to take a huge step backwards, but the potential to land a superstar like Paul in his prime while freeing up a ton of cap space was far too much for sniveling owners like Dan Gilbert to handle.
AP sports writer Brett Martel reports that Dell Demps contends,
"We're doing everything possible that we can to keep Chris here. We offered Chris a contract extension and Chris said that he's not ready to sign an extension at this time. We always knew that there was a possibility that this day would happen and we are taking every step and every measure that we possibly can to bring a team here to New Orleans that represents the city so we can have the best team out here on the court."
The Hornets have a choice between letting CP3 "LeBron" them or trading him for close to equal value.
There is no way the Hornets aren't going to engage in a lopsided trade, but that doesn't mean they can't put their franchise in a better position to win.
Either they get something for Paul, or they're left stranded. Since the NBA clearly wants to prohibit the Lakers from making a move that brings them closer to a championship, the Hornets are forced to explore other avenues.
What is the most likely destination for CP3?
It's absurd to think that Paul may be headed to a smaller market team with less to offer, but the vetoed trade suggests it is inevitable.
David Stern is almost picking where Paul lands, which crosses ethical boundaries and is inherently wrong on a number of levels.
Even so, the Hornets have to play his game before they are left in the cold. The three-team trade with the Hornets and Lakers put them in a better position to succeed, but they can't give up on exploring other options since Stern so readily axed the trade that may have allowed the Hornets to move on without Paul.