Stern vetoes Paul deal, creates uneasiness around NBA

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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.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

WATCH: Celtics vs. Hornets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Hornets at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

Celtics-Hornets preview: Boston, Charlotte heading in opposite directions

BOSTON -- The last time Boston saw the Charlotte Hornets last month, both teams were streaking in the wrong direction with each coming in having lost three in a row.

Both come into tonight’s game streaking, although in two very different directions.

Boston (25-15) has won 12 of its last 15 games to firmly establish itself as the third-best team in the East behind Cleveland and Toronto. Meanwhile the Hornets (20-20) are on the cusp of falling below .500 for the first time this season after losing their last four games.

Still, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen enough of this Hornets team to know that a win tonight won’t come easily.

“This is a good team,” Stevens said. “We all know Charlotte. They don’t beat themselves. We’ve had to play really well against those guys. This is going to be a tough one, as we all know.”

Figuring out why these two teams are trending in opposite directions isn’t all that complicated.

For the Celtics, their success of late has hinged heavily on their ability to make 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s problems have had a lot to do with a tough slate of road games (all four of their recent losses were on the road) and their inability to make shots which has been an issue in some form for them all season regardless of the opponent.

Look at the last four games, all of which the Hornets lost while the Celtics won three of their four games in that span.

The Hornets rank 21st in scoring with a 101.5 points per game average while the Celtics average 110.8 points which ranks 8th in the league.

Charlotte ranks dead-last in the league the last four games when it comes to shooting the ball (40.5 percent), while Boston comes in 18th at 46.0 percent.

But it’s the 3-point shot and its impact on having an effective field goal percentage, that really separates these two.

Boston has averaged a league-best 15.3 made 3-pointers in the last four games while the Hornets and their 9.8 made 3’s ranks 20th.

And as far as its impact on eFG%, Boston comes in with the eighth-best eFG% in the league (54.8 percent) while the Hornets next-to-last in the NBA with an eFG% of .462.

So what does that mean tonight?

Boston will look to continue being fueled offensively by good ball movement and attacking the rim which in turn should result in lots of good looks from 3-point range which is clearly a strength of this team.

Charlotte will search for other sources of offense besides former UConn star Kemba Walker who is on the short list of candidates for a spot on this year’s Eastern Conference all-star roster.

As was the case in Charlotte’s 102-93 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, an off-night shooting for Walker (17 points, 7-for-23 shooting with three assists) left the Hornets extremely vulnerable to defeat. Similar struggles tonight will provide a similar ending for Charlotte which would allow both teams to continue streaking along … something the Celtics wouldn’t mind at all.