Tag: CP3

David Stern

League finds way to make bad PR situation worse by killing trade


The only public relations move worse than the league allowing Chris Paul to be traded to the Lakers after a five-month lockout allegedly about “competitive balance” is to have David Stern come in with an iron fist and kill the deal because owners complained.

Well done NBA. Well done indeed.

David Stern and the league painted itself into a corner here by trying to be rational — if we learned one thing from the lockout it is that the NBA owners are not rational.

Stern let Hornets GM Dell Demps try to work out the best deal for his team. After talking to anyone and everyone that called, Demps came up with a three-team deal that would have netted the Hornets Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and a draft pick for Paul. That’s not a bad haul — those are guys that can make the team competitive now and be good trade chips going forward as the team will start to rebuild. This was the first move of many in the Hornets rebuilding.

But all some owners saw was Chris Paul going to the Lakers.

We just missed a couple months of the NBA season because Stern was telling us small market owners didn’t want to just keep sending their big stars to big markets like some kind of glorified farm system. “Competitive balance” was the owners’ mantra through this entire labor dispute.

Those owners saw the trade as a black eye and pressured the league to kill it.

What they did was make things worse. And made themselves look foolish in the process.

The league denies this is how things went down, with league spokesman Mike Bass saying the owners never discussed it as a group and the decision to kill the trade was made for “basketball reasons.”

Wrong. Demps made the trade he did for basketball reasons. He looked at about 100 trade options teams put before him and selected (and helped create) the one that he thought helped his team the most. He wanted to trade Paul for basketball reasons — he watched what happened to the Nuggets last year and didn’t want that to happen to his team.

But the league killed the deal anyway. Good luck finding a better one. Or any deal for that matter.

And while we’re at it — this Pau Gasol trade was a bad one, but Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown was OK? Really?

“Competitive balance” was always smokescreen, a myth that could not be obtained by any new Collective Bargaining Agreement. No system can save bad owners from themselves. Put simply, smart management wins in the NBA, and by smart management we mean smart drafting to start. You can win and be profitable in a small market, as San Antonio and Oklahoma City have and are proving, as the Memphis Grizzlies showed us last playoffs.

But the biggest stars will always gravitate toward the brightest lights. Los Angeles, New York and Miami have inherent advantages as a destination that Indianapolis cannot match. Small markets can overcome that, if they are managed well. The Hornets were not for years — thanks again Gorge Shinn! — and now Demps has to clean up the mess.

But the league wouldn’t let him do his job. They listened to whiny owners.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch said the league looked like it was run by the Keystone Cops tonight. That sounds about right.

Lakers, Rockets, Hornets talking three-way Chris Paul trade

Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Hornets

After things seemed to cool of on Wednesday, the Chris Paul trade rumors have heated up fast and furious on Thursday.

That includes a three-way deal where Paul ends up with the Los Angeles Lakers, who give up Pau Gasol. Then there is both Boston and New York working hard to find multi-team deals that would let them land CP3.

The three-team rumor comes via Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated although it now has been confirmed by multiple sources. The details are not yet clear, but Chris Paul would land with the Lakers, Pau Gasol would end up with the Rockets (who are looking for a big man) and the Hornets would get Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and some picks. There are a lot of details we don’t know and details have to be worked out.

Three-team trades are hard to make come together, but there are talks taking place.

The Lakers had wanted to trade Gasol for Chris Paul and not Andrew Bynum, hoping to keep the young big man in house for a potential trade with the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard (or just to play Bynum). Landing Paul would force a radical change in offensive philosophy for new Lakers coach Mike Brown — he said he wanted to go with a “twin towers” idea with Gasol and Bynum not unlike what the Spurs did with David Robinson and Tim Duncan — but he would do it for the best point guard in the league.

Meanwhile Celtics GM Danny Ainge continues to work hard to find a way to land Paul in Boston — even though Paul has said he would not re-sign there. Ainge and the Celtics brass think they can change his tune if they just land him. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo has the details.

The Celtics have relentlessly pursued Paul and have presented the Hornets with as many as eight different scenarios that would bring them some combination of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, two future No. 1 picks and additional talent from third teams, sources said.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers believe they can sell Paul on re-signing with Boston for the long-term and desperately want him as the franchise star of their post-Big 3 era.

The Knicks also are reportedly going hard after a Chris Paul trade, with several scenarios out there. Those may include trying to trade Amare Stoudemire for Paul, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. Why the Hornets would do that is beyond me. The Hornets want to rebuild with young players and picks, Stoudemire is older, expensive and with a history of injury problems. The Hornets could try to move him in a secondary deal, but that seems like a lot of work when better offers are on the table.

Update: Chris Paul trade moving fast, Dwight Howard not

Miami Heat v New Orleans Hornets

This much has become clear: It is very likely Chris Paul will be traded before the start of the NBA season and talks are fast tracked on that move. However, talks surrounding a Dwight Howard trade have slowed to a trickle as Howard has not told the Magic what he wants so that team remains focused on moves to keep him in house.

Chris Paul cannot be traded before Friday, Dec. 9, but Hornets GM Dell Demps is moving fast, listening to offers from around the NBA. After a meeting with Paul on Monday where it was clear CP3 would not sign an extension in New Orleans, Demps has refused to let this situation drag out as happened with Carmelo Anthony last year. This process has gained a real momentum.

Golden State may be the team in the lead right now. The Hornets offer is based around Stephen Curry and rookie Klay Thompson. But in addition they are one of the leaders in signing Tyson Chandler, reports Marc Stein of ESPN, a race the Warriors jumped into prior to the CP3 trade talk. Paul and Chandler played together in New Orleans and Paul has told teams it is far more likely that he signs an extension somewhere if Chandler is on that squad.

The Clippers and Celtics remain in the mix and have made first offers, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

The Clippers’ opening salvo was an offer that included restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan and Minnesota’s unprotected first-round pick, with L.A. hoping that the prospect of playing with electrifying forward Blake Griffin and the big stage of Los Angeles would be enticing enough to Paul that he would eventually commit to the team long term. Eric Gordon is not in the deal “at this time,” a source said, though it is understood that any deal that would include a commitment from Paul would have to include the sharpshooting guard….

But the Celtics stepped forward with an offer that would not have to come with any commitment from Paul that he’d re-sign with Boston after the season. According to a person familiar with the discussions, the Celtics offered Rajon Rondo, two future first-round picks, and restricted free agent Jeff Green in a sign-and-trade for Paul.

The Hornets would be fools to do a deal with the Clippers that did not net them Gordon, and Demps is no fool. The Clippers, obviously, would like to keep Gordon as the two guard next to Paul, which is why he is not in the deal currently. Also, reportedly the Clippers may have offered Chris Kaman instead of Jordan, but you can bet the Hornets prefer the younger and more athletic Jordan.

The Clippers and the Warriors face similar issues with Curry and Gordon, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

But the Hornets continue to meet with resistance from the Warriors and the Clippers on Curry and Gordon, sources told ESPN.com, because both teams are reluctant to part with their young backcourt cornerstones with no assurance from Paul that he will stay beyond this season.

Paul may have said he wanted to go to the Knicks, but that is only happening if he becomes a free agent and signs there this summer. As Berger notes, the best they can offer is Chauncey Billups (a $14 million expiring deal), Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert and Jerome Jordan. Not good enough. The Knicks are reportedly trying to get better trade assets. They should talk to Denver, where the Knicks sent all their assets last year to get Carmelo Anthony.

The other team in Los Angeles — the Lakers — are not out of the running either, reports David Aldridge at NBA.com. The Lakers package is reportedly Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Paul and the unpleasant contract of Emeka Okafor.

A team willing to take on Okafor and his three-year, $40 million deal may have an advantage in the talks.

If the Lakers send Bynum for Paul they would likely be out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes… if there will be one.

Howard and the Magic front office have spoken but unlike Paul he did not say he will not sign an extension to stay. Which means right now the Magic are more focused on bringing in a superstar to pair with Howard and keep him rather than sending him out.

They are targeting Deron Williams among others, according to David Baumann at Big House Sports Network (via Eye on Basketball). Also on the radar are Chris Paul and Monta Ellis, according to the reports. For the record, there is no way the Nets are trading Williams, they are trying to acquire assets to keep him there.

The problem for the Magic remains this — how do they get these players? While on his way out the door Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide said landing another star “… is certainly possible, teams like our assets.” What assets? There is nothing on the Magic roster a rebuilding team like the Hornets would want. Brandon Bass and J.J. Redick don’t cut it. And it’s hard to make a move with the Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu contracts sitting there.

But for now the Magic are intent on trying to keep Howard, and so that train has slowed way down.

Chris Paul, on the other hand, is very likely to be traded sooner rather than later.

Chris Paul denies requesting trade to New York. As he must.

New Orleans Hornets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Two

This was inevitable and predictable. And it doesn’t change one thing.

Chris Paul has officially denied that he has requested a trade to the New York Knicks. Here are the quotes via the Times-Picayune.

But two league sources confirmed after the story broke that Paul’s agent, Leon Rose, never made the request to the Hornets.

“It is just rumors; you can’t control it,’’ Paul said. “It’s always going to happen, and it’s part of the game. I’m just happy to be back with my team.’’

First, Paul likes New Orleans, he is very involved in the community there. This is not about the city or the fans. And Paul may have to play some or all of a season there, so he is going to say this is not him and that he just wants to play basketball and all that. He has to. That is part of the game.

This is not about the Big Easy. This is about Paul wanting to win and seeing a team without an owner and without direction in a small market. It’s hard to see how the Hornets become competitive soon.

Neither Paul nor his agent made direct contact with Hornets GM Dell Demps and say, “trade me.” That’s not how this works, people leave themselves plausible deniability. It’s done though an intermediary but the message is clear nonetheless. At some point Demps and Paul (and his agent) will talk directly, face-to-face. Don’t expect the message to really change.

But that’s not what they will say to the press. It will be CP3 saying he loves New Orleans and he just wants to play basketball. It will be Demps saying the team’s priority is to sign Paul to an extension. It is a dance they will do for as long as this thing plays out. But Paul is leaving New Orleans and that is not changing, it’s just a matter of how and where.

Report: Chris Paul’s agent tells Hornets he will not sign, wants to be Knick

Miami Heat v New Orleans Hornets

This might be David Stern’s worst nightmare. The only thing that would make it worse is if union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler were Chris Paul’s agent.

Paul has informed the Hornets front office that he will not sign an extension with the team and that he wants to be traded to the Knicks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo.

Chris Paul’s agent informed New Orleans officials on Wednesday that his client will not sign a contract extension and wants to be traded to the New York Knicks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

As soon as the NBA lifts its lockout restrictions, Hornets general manager Dell Demps wants to meet with Paul and hear that directive from him.

Paul does like New Orleans the city, but this is a team without an owner in a small market that is a long way from being able to compete for anything. Thank you again, George Shinn.

David Stern is stuck because the league currently owns the Hornets after Shinn was unable to sell the team to a local businessman and was hinting at bankruptcy.

After five months (really two years) of Stern preaching about the need for competitive balance in the NBA, making that a cornerstone of the five-month lockout, he cannot have the league trade CP3 to the big market Knicks. The 28 other owners would lynch him.

What’s more, the Knicks don’t have any tradable assets that interest the Hornets anyway, they shipped them all to Denver to get Carmelo Anthony last year. The Hornets want picks and young players with potential. Demps has been talking to other teams, but the only way Paul is going to the Knicks in a trade is if one or more other teams get involved as facilitators. Those kind of deals are hard to put together.

If Paul is going to end up in Madison Square Garden, it likely will be as a free agent next summer. Then the Knicks could offer a four year contract that starts at $13 million to Paul, although that is less than the $17.4 million where an extension with the Hornets would start.

Or, he might broaden his trade horizons as other teams try to sell him. Which might happen, as this note from Wojnarowski hints.

Paul has reached out to Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard recently, encouraging Howard to find a way for the two to play together, sources told Yahoo! Sports. That would be a difficult scenario for the Knicks to make happen. Paul’s desire to join the Knicks was cemented after he spent so much time in New York over the summer with close friend, Carmelo Anthony.