Stern vetoes Paul deal, creates uneasiness around NBA


Stern vetoes Paul deal, creates uneasiness around NBA

It looks like Chris Paul isn't going to the Los Angeles Lakers at all or Boston or any major market - at least not anytime soon.

Shortly after the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets engineered a three-team blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, the deal was called off by NBA Commissioner David Stern.

The deal would have netted the Lakers Paul, one of the top players in the NBA.

Timing, more than anything else, is why Paul will be in the Hornet's training camp on Friday.

One of the many issues that league officials talked about during the 149-day lockout, was trying to limit big-market teams from running roughshod over mid-sized and small-market clubs for the game's superstars.

Killing the Paul trade?

Mission accomplished.

But here in Boston, you have to wonder what would have happened if the Celtics' offer for Paul of Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, along with two first-round picks, would have been accepted by the Hornets?

Would that deal have been killed too?

While there are certainly some owners who feel good about the deal being killed, there are just as many bothered by the move.

Here's what the league had to say on rejecting the Paul trade:

"Not true that owners killed the deal," read a statement from the NBA. "It wasn't even discussed at the Board meeting. League office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons."

Uh, OK.

So what's to stop them from killing any trade for "basketball reasons."

This decision by the league really stinks on so many levels. It creates the allusion that the league, at least when it comes to trades, will play favorites.

In addition, you can bet that Paul will consider taking this thing to court.

By forcing him to stay in New Orleans - a team he has no intention of playing with beyond this season - the return may cost him several millions in his next deal, money that he may never recoup.

One more thing.

The idea of forcing a player back to a team in this manner, won't sit well with the NBA's fan base or the players - the two most important components to the league's success.

So as much as folks outside of L.A. probably did a quiet little double-fist pump when they heard Stern had killed the deal, be careful.

Because the next time a trade comes around that the league doesn't like for "basketball reasons," it just might be your team - and not the Lakers - getting screwed.