David Stern Says Mitch Kupchak Kept Lakers from Making 2011 Chris Paul Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2017

FILE - In this Oct. 23, 2013 file photo, NBA Commissioner David Stern smiles during a news conference after an NBA board of governors meeting in New York. Stern is amazed when he looks at the NBA and compares it to the league that was struggling to stay afloat when he started.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Not content to let sleeping dogs lie, former NBA commissioner David Stern rehashed the scuttled trade that saw Chris Paul nearly join the Los Angeles Lakers.

During the May 19 edition of the Nunyo & Company podcast (h/t Harrison Faigen of SB Nation), Stern blamed former Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak for the team failing to land Paul:

And in fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kyle Lowry; and we had a trade lined up for [Lamar] Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick. Not we, but my basketball folks. But [Kupchack] at the time panicked, and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn't even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it—just about what was good for the then New Orleans Hornets.

Paul wound up with the Los Angeles Clippers, who traded Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and a first-round pick to the New Orleans Hornets.

Since the move happened five-and-a-half years ago, most NBA fans have moved on. Granted, Paul joining the Lakers ahead of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season is one of the bigger what ifs from the last decade.

It's far from a guarantee Paul's arrival would've had the galvanizing affect the Lakers expected by potentially acquiring the star point guard. A backcourt of Paul and Kobe Bryant looked great on paper, but the same was said of the Lakers when they added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash a year later.

Los Angeles went 45-37 and lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2012-13.

According to the Washington Post's Tim Bontemps, Howard may have joined Paul and Bryant in Los Angeles in 2011-12 as well, which would've certainly created an interesting dynamic on the court.

Some Lakers fans will likely never forgive Stern for his role in the Paul trade, but at least Los Angeles seemingly has a bright future ahead for the first time in a long time.

The Lakers may have finished 26-56 this year, but they're assembling a strong core of young players and own the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

While the Lakers are still a few years away from top-four contention in the Western Conference, they may still wind up winning another title before the Clippers, who are facing an offseason in which Paul and Blake Griffin are eligible for free agency.

Related

    Simmons Practiced Shooting Over Summer for 1st Time

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Simmons Practiced Shooting Over Summer for 1st Time

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    With LeBron in LA, Is It Almost Showtime Again?

    Los Angeles Lakers logo
    Los Angeles Lakers

    With LeBron in LA, Is It Almost Showtime Again?

    Nytimes
    via Nytimes

    Woj: Wolves Telling Teams They Intend to Keep Butler

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Woj: Wolves Telling Teams They Intend to Keep Butler

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Jefferson's Father Killed in Drive-By Shooting

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Jefferson's Father Killed in Drive-By Shooting

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report