This could get interesting. And it could provide David Stern a “face saving” way out of his public relations disaster.
The Lakers, Hornets and Rockets are talking again about ways to sweeten the three-team trade vetoed by Stern yesterday, tweeted Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (who has been on top of this story from the start).
On renewed talks for nixed Chris Paul blockbuster: “All three teams are engaged,” one source tells Y! Sports. “Not sure if it will work.”
There are other teams who had been in the CP3 hunt — Golden State, Boston — who have tried to re-engage talks with the Hornets as well.
“We’re talking about everything. Everything is on the table,” general manager Dell Demps told the Associated Press.
If a deal is not executed over the weekend, there are rumblings that the players union may take legal action against the league.
The original deal sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and four players – Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic — plus a first round pick to the Hornets.
Stern allegedly killed this deal for “basketball reasons,” because it made the Hornets less valuable as a franchise. According to the New York Times Howard Beck, the directive from the league is to get a package of younger players and picks that would allow the Hornets to build going forward. (You have to wonder if that means they want Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, and if L.A. would give him up for a point guard.)
Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert complained that the Lakers got the best player in the deal and shed salary. If the deal can be reworked so that Hornets big man Emeka Okafor — three years, $30 million left on his deal — went off the Hornets books and on the Lakers books, would that be more fair?
For a lot of the detractors, the real issue was that the best point guard in the game was leaving a small market for the 800-pound gorilla of franchises that was the Los Angeles Lakers. Chris Paul was going to team with Kobe Bryant, the Lakers still had Andrew Bynum (to play at center or use as the heart of a Dwight Howard trade) and those small market owners didn’t like it. They were jealous. The Lakers were smart enough to have the assets to get Paul and be a market where he would sign to play for years.
That does not change in a reworked deal. The Lakers would still get Paul and pair him with Kobe.
But after the backlash of the last 24 hours, would Stern dare veto it again? Or, could he say, “this deal is better” and save face by allowing it to go through?