The 27 teams uninvolved in the now infamous Chris Paul trade, vetoed by the commissioner, should have zero say so in the fate of the trade. Chris Paul was sent to the Lakers who had to part with beloved big man Pau Gasol and the versatile Lamar Odom. Gasol was routed to Houston, and the Hornets netted Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and draft picks from Houston to go with Lamar Odom coming from LA. The Hornets expect to lose Chris Paul after this offseason via free agency so receiving as much as they did was very impressive.
Small market owners are complaining that they can’t retain their star players, that they always bolt for the big market teams. The problem with that gripe is that there is a salary cap in the NBA. If you can’t keep your star player then it’s because you haven’t managed your salary cap as well as GM’s of the top teams like Mitch Kupchak from the Lakers. The size of the market is not related to their payroll. The complaint really has nothing to do with them being in big markets–there is a salary cap. Rather it has to do with punishing the well runs teams.
Three teams are hurt by this decision, and thus by rule the other 27 teams are lifted up, so of course they’re happy about it. The Hornets will find it very difficult to trade Chris Paul to another team. If the trade to LA was blocked and another was allowed, everyone would complain of conspiracy (and rightfully so). So now you have Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom in the precarious position of going back to the team that just traded them away. Everyone in New Orleans now knows that Chris Paul wants to be a Laker, since he has threatened to sue the league and isn’t reporting to camp. All three teams involved in this trade are losers, unless of course you think the Lakers overpaid for Chris Paul and can just sign him after this season anyway.
All three teams involved are appealing, and I think there’s a great chance it will go through. This decision by Stern (urged by the same small market owners who prolonged the holdout) punishes well run teams, and is bad for the league.
I love Gasol, and as a Laker fan hate to see him leave, but on principle this trade should be allowed. The bright side for the Lakers is that if it goes through, they’ll have freed up enough cap to make a move for Dwight Howard, however the problem is that if they don’t get a big man and move both Gasol and Odom then they’ll quickly go from one of the longest teams in the NBA to one of the most shrimpy.
David Stern, do the right thing. Just as I often have to allow honest but lopsided trades to go through in my fantasy leagues, you’re going to have to let this one go.
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