Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Hasn't Forgiven David Stern for Chris Paul Trade Veto

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2013

EL SEGUNDO, CA - AUGUST 10: General Manager Mitch Kupchak of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks to the media during a press conference after being traded from the Orlando Magic on August 10, 2012 at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE  (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

Why yes, Los Angeles Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak, does hold grudges.

Speaking at an event for Lakers season-ticket holders, Kupchak took the opportunity to laud NBA commissioner David Stern, who will retire this February, for the job he's done since taking over—with the exception of "one moment."

Stern cost the Lakers Paul.
Stern cost the Lakers Paul.Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

"He's done so much for this [league with] his vision," Kupchak said, according to the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus.  ". . . We'll miss him, with the exception of one moment."

That moment Kupchak is referencing dates back to December 2011, when Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent Chris Paul from the then-New Orleans Hornets to the Lakers. Soon after, Paul was shipped to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers' in-house rival.

"Have you forgiven him for that one moment?" asked Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz, who was moderating the event, per Pincus.

"No I haven't," Kupchak responded.

Of course he hasn't. How could he? Kobe Bryant sure hasn't, after all.

The Lakers would be in a completely different situation if Stern didn't interfere with the deal Kupchak orchestrated nearly three years ago.

Acquiring Paul would have cost the Lakers Pau Gasol, but not Andrew Bynum, the foundation of a Dwight Howard trade that would take place eight months later. To think, if it wasn't for Stern, the Lakers may have had Kobe Bryant, Paul and Howard in tow last season.

What happens after that would've been anyone's guess.

Maybe Kobe and Howard don't butt heads alongside the NBA's best point guard. Maybe the Lakers don't struggle to make the playoffs. Maybe they contend for a championship and both Howard and Paul re-sign over the summer. 

Maybe the Lakers are still a powerhouse today.

Oh, what could have been.
Oh, what could have been.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

We'll never know. Because of Stern. And you better believe this is on Stern. The NBA was an acting owner of the Hornets back then and it was him who initiated the trade's destruction.

"It definitely was David," a source close to negotiations told the New York Times of who made the ultimate decision.

There you have it, Lakers fans. As if there weren't enough current wounds for you cauterize while anxiously awaiting Kobe's return, Kupchak has reopened some old ones for you.

Just don't harp on them. Nothing will be gained from living in the past. Wallowing in outdated self-pity won't put Paul in purple and gold.

So while you're free to never forgive, make damn sure you're trying to forget.


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