Earlier today, Bill Simmons posted a column excoriating NBA commissioner David Stern for striking down the three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. Stern’s decision represented an unconscionable power player from the league (which, of course, owns the Hornets) and proof that the franchise was never going to be allowed to conduct business the way an NBA team needs to be able to conduct business. Whiny letters like this win out over a team making the best deal it can (UPDATE: we should mention the letter was apparently sent after the deal was killed)? Come on.
Later in the day, Simmons talked about the shot-down deal again with SportsCenter’s John Buccigross about the impact of the non-deal, which he said in his column signaled Stern’s loss of control over the league. And he didn’t mince words in speaking with Buccigross, either…he thinks the decision signals that the end of Stern’s tenure is closer than we might have thought:
The claim that executives are thinking about quitting seems drastic, but makes sense: remember how angry that one executive was at Stern (“[Expletive] this whole thing”)? We’re sure there are more thinking the same thing, and they have every right to. After all, it’s not just the big-ticket, glamorous Lakers getting hurt here: the Hornets, should the NBA not eventually give in and let the deal go through, would find themselves in greater danger of losing Paul in free agency for nothing at all. And the idiocy of the league’s decision sort of makes one hope that’s exactly what happens.
This would be bad for the Hornets and their fans if it happened, of course. But maybe such collateral damage would be necessary to send a message to owners like Dan Gilbert: how would fighting for “fairness” with gross unfairness have worked out for them them? Stern and the owners deserve to be made to look like fools for what they’ve done here, and when we find ourselves rooting for that above all else, it’s hard not to argue that someone’s best days in charge are well behind them.