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NBA Trade Rumors: Why Isn't Chris Paul a Los Angeles Laker?

James Pearson@JKPIIICorrespondent IDecember 9, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 28:  (L-R) Willie Green #33 and Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets react on the bench during a 98-80 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2011 at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana.  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.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Chris Paul was on an NBA-owned franchise, was going to be a free agent and needed to be moved. Apparently, David Stern didn't think he did

Now, if we weren’t still feeling the effects of what not looks like the most pointless lockout in the history of anything, we are left scratching our heads and the NBA seems like it has a big of a mess on their hands since said lockout.

Paul, the premier point guard in the NBA, was on a New Orleans Hornets team who knew after 66 games that he was leaving, and it seemed like anything they could get for him before he leaves would be gravy.

Not only did they work out a fair deal, you could argue they came out the best in working out a deal for Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Lamar Odom. Even Goran Dragic can play—he has shown flashes playing behind Steve Nash in Phoenix. Given the playing time and experience, he could turn out to be a starting point guard in the NBA. Plus, they would have received a 2012 first round draft pick in a (expected) loaded draft.

Add in Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, and that's a legitimate NBA team.

The Houston Rockets were also involved and acquired an elite big man in Pau Gasol while giving themselves enough cap room to shop in the free agent market and go get someone like Nene. Sure, it’s a leap to assume the Rockets would sign Nene, but he would have to at least look at signing here.

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What team in the West wouldn’t have problems with Gasol and Nene controlling the paint? While having to deal with shooters in Chase Budinger, Kyle Lowry and Courtney Lee on the perimeter? They came out winners as well.

The Lakers would get their best point guard since Magic Johnson was running Showtime. They were ditching the triangle offense and needed a point to run their new Mike Brown offense while easing the ball handling duties for Kobe Bryant.

They were, however, depleting their entire front line, leaving an injury prone Andrew Bynum as their lone threat down low. It was going to be a gamble, but they couldn’t pass on getting the best point guard in the league.

In addition, it freed up a ton of money and gave them the option to flip Bynum for Dwight Howard. It wouldn't be guaranteed, but you can't tell me they weren't looking at it.

One trade, three teams, three winners.

Really, had a three-way deal ever worked out so well for every team involved?

And yet, Stern vetoed the deal. Why?

Some owners—most notably Dan Gilbert—whined almost as fast as when he lost Lebron James last summer saying it wasn’t fair, stating “It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.”

If there were ever a time to use the phrase “Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” it’s now.

I'm sure he wasn't the only owner upset, but he is certainly the most vocal. However, didn’t everyone involved just agree to a new C.B.A.? 

If this trades works under that new C.B.A., it works, right? I mean, the ink isn’t even dry on the new deal yet, how could any new owner be upset with anything? 

Yet Stern stated this morning that it’s “more valuable” to keep Paul with the Hornets.  

“More valuable” to me means some owners were afraid that the Lakers were going to get Howard after acquiring Paul and create a new—and possibly better—Big Three.

Plus, for Stern and the NBA, if Paul re-signs with Howard on the Lakers and Deron Williams saying that he is "90%  sure he is re-signing with the New Jersey Nets”  Sterns’ big NBA free agent summer of 2012 now looks as exciting as summer camping with the in-laws.

Also, if this was to make the Hornets more attractive to prospective new owners, unless vetoing this deal allows the new owner to purchase a Paul-less Hornets for pennies on the dollar, why would now allowing this deal make the Hornets more attractive?  

Now this morning news broke that Howard will ask to be traded to the New Jersey Nets.

How can Stern allow this deal to happen? How can he allow any trade to happen now? 

If this deal does go through does Gilbert still have beef with Paul going to the Lakers?

Do the Lakers even want to re-visit the deal if Howard is gone?

Does a roster of Paul, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum sound any better than the Lakers roster as it is currently constructed? How many good knees are there between those three? Two? 

These three guys are supposed to play an intense 66-game schedule with numerous back-to-back nights?

Can’t you see if Howard is indeed dealt to New Jersey that Gilbert would come out and say “I acted in haste and shouldn’t have sent that email out and this deal under the guidelines we all agreed upon should be allowed, go ahead and let Paul play for the Lakers now.”  Either that would be said or “my email account had been hacked, I have no beef at all.”

With Howard presumably out of the picture, this might end up working in the Lakers favor, but what do the Hornets and Rockets do now?

What do the players involved do? Just go about things like nothing happened?

Paul is just supposed to put a smile on his face and play for the Hornets? Martin and Scola are supposed to be getting excited about the Rockets season now?

Gasol and Odom probably are fine back in L.A., but you get the picture. What are coaches and GM’s supposed to tell their players now? Sure they are paid to play a game, but there are still human beings.

Whatever mess Stern and the complaining owners thought they were trying to prevent by vetoing this deal they ended up causing a bigger one and embarrassed themselves and the league.

Each team needs a better explanation than Paul being "More Valuable" to the Hornets or he needs to make this thing right and allow the trade. Now, with lawsuits pending this is going to get uglier before it gets any better. 

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