The NBA held a conference call Wednesday night to discuss the trade of Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, and a first-round pick. The call was as much for the league to try and spin the damage control caused by the league’s rejection of the initial Lakers-Rockets-Hornets trade as it was to introduce why this trade went through. The commissioner bantered with reporters wondering how this all went down and why.
Instead of running you through some dry narrative, let’s play a game called “What He Said/What He Meant” in which I take quotes from the most powerful man in the NBA and interpret them. Shall we?
What he said: “I knew we were doing the best thing for New Orleans and that was my job.”
What he meant: “It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that two guys over 30 and a mid-20’s pick doesn’t help a team rebuild, but apparently it does. Took me about fifteen seconds.”
What he said: “You have to stick with what you think was right. I must confess it wasn’t a lot of fun, but I don’t get paid to have fun.”
What he meant: “I get paid to make other people not have fun. Specifically Dell Demps, Mitch Kupchak and Daryl Morey, apparently. Also, I did think this was right. If you don’t believe me, check your web traffic tomorrow.”
What he said: “Our sole focus was and will remain, until we sell this team, hopefully which will be in first half of 2012, how best to maintain the Hornets, make them as attractive and a competitive as we can and ensure we have a buyer who can keep them in New Orleans.”
What he meant: “Have you seen this draft class? Do you realize how much we’re going to drive this price up when they get two top-ten picks? We’ve already started printing unibrow signs for Anthony Davis. I have to keep them in New Orleans. The lockout, blocking the trade, that’s two strikes. I’m down to my last pitch, here.”
What he said: “I would recommend only to the most hearty with the thickest of skins that they do this.”
What he meant: “Don’t get it twisted, no one is iller than the commish. Tell Prokhorov I said ‘hi.'”
The commissioner is never going to get this off his resume, never going to erase what some consider a black stain on his legacy. But here’s the end result of Stern’s decisions. The Clippers are better, and a premier team in the league. The Hornets have a better shot at rebuilding and starting over. Both sides won.
The Lakers lost, but that’s another story.