This Chris Paul mess is quickly spinning out of control for the NBA.
Earlier today, the league vetoed a trade that would’ve sent Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers. The feeling among most executives, fans, and talking heads was that, while Paul’s move to the Lakers would create another super-powered team in a big market, it was actually a better deal for the Hornets than for the Lakers. In exchange for a single player (that would be leaving town in 6 months anyway), they’d get Lamar Odom, Rockets guards Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic, forward Luis Scola, and a 2012 first-round pick. Not bad, right?
Except it didn’t happen. Commissioner David Stern, after being pressured by several owners who deemed the trade unfair, vetoed it, and now everyone — those executives, fans and taking heads — are wondering how the league can squash such an exciting (and fair) trade. This was going to be big. This was going to be huge. Now? Paul appears to be stuck on a small-market team that he doesn’t want to be on, the Hornets are left with a star that doesn’t want to be there, and the fans are robbed of seeing Paul playing in the same backcourt as Kobe Bryant. How does any of this make sense?
It doesn’t, as TNT analyst Steve Kerr pointed out this morning on Colin Cowherd‘s ESPN Radio show. Kerr deemed it “one of the dumbest things the league has ever done,” and noted that it opens up the league to possibly getting sued by Paul. Which is, conceivably, the only way this gets worse for the NBA.