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.

Al Horford recalls offseason flirtation with Rockets

Al Horford recalls offseason flirtation with Rockets

Al Horford was destined to play in tonight’s game between Boston and Houston.
 
But for which team?
 
That was the question the four-time All-Star pondered this summer when he narrowed his list of suitors outside of Atlanta to Boston, Houston and Washington, in that order.
 
“I really considered coming here,” Horford told reporters on Monday. “But them and Boston and Washington. (Houston) and Boston were probably the two teams I was really, really looking at. Just a lot to consider.”

When you look at how seamless Horford has fit in with the Celtics and how well the Rockets (13-7) have played this season, you get the feeling that Horford would have found success individually and for whichever team he chose.
 
“At the end of the day, I just felt I was better off being here in Boston,” Horford said.
 
Rockets All-Star James Harden was among the party Houston sent to try and woo Horford to the Rockets.

“I thought we had a chance,” Harden said. “I thought we had a real good chance, but obviously it didn’t work out. Which is fine.”
 
Indeed, the Rockets have been one of the surprise teams of the NBA this season in large part to Harden moving to the point guard position full-time.
 
Not only is he once again ranked among the NBA’s top scorers at 28.3 points which ranks fourth in the NBA, but he’s also dishing out a league-high 11.8 assists per game.
 
“They made it pretty clear in the offseason that he was going to be the point guard,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “He’s got the ball all the time. He had the ball a lot before, but certainly now with their spacing and his ability to make the play himself or the right read to the big rolling or to the many good shooters around, it’s a perfect setup for him and his skillset.”
 
The ability to draw defenders and create space for those around him is one of the many reasons why the Rockets felt Horford would have been an ideal fit for their system.
 
But the same argument can be made for the Celtics who unlike the Rockets, at least attempt to play defense at a high level.
 
Boston began the season ranked among the worst defenses in the NBA, but are currently up to 18th with a defensive rating of 105.0. Meanwhile, the Rockets’ defense ranks 27th in the league with a 107.2 defensive rating.