Chris Paul was traded to the Lakers, and then he wasn’t, and now he might be again. In an odd chain of events yesterday, Chris Paul, of the New Orleans Hornets, was traded to the LA Lakers in a three team deal. The deal was constituted as follows:
Lakers get – Chris Paul
Rockets get – Pau Gasol
Hornets get – Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, and a first round pick from the New York Knicks
When the trade was announced, many of the other owners in the league were in an uproar because another big market team was acquiring a big-name player that forced himself out of a small market team. (please see Dan Gilbert’s email for reference – http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7335431/text-dan-gilbert-email-david-stern) David Stern obviously felt the pressure from the owners in the league (remember, the Hornets are owned by the league itself…which means each owner in the league actually owns a fractional portion of the team) to not let this trade go through because the Lakers were getting Paul, and were saving a ton of money in the process. In retrospect, the Hornets made off like bandits, possibly receiving a better trade than the Utah Jazz in their trade with the New Jersey Nets last season involving Deron Williams. Luis Scola – very solid big man in the league, Kevin Martin – averaged 25 per night last season for Houston, Lamar Odom – 6th man of the year last season for the Lakers, Goran Dragic – playoff tested point guard, and a first round pick…and the Lakers got a perennial all-star with bad knees in return. Is Chris Paul one of the absolute best players in the league? Yes. Is it a huge gamble for them to trade away Gasol and Odom leaving Andrew Bynum to fill the lane on his own hoping that Paul and Kobe can figure out a way to share the ball? Absolutely. Could the addition of Paul add a new dynamic to Kobe and Bynum’s game to push them back into the title picture? Absolutely, again. (Think about the Paul and Kobe chemistry thing…this very well could create a similar problem to the Lebron and D. Wade offensive issues of last year. You would have two guys that love to have the ball in their hands and run the offense through them. With them on the floor together, Kobe would have to become more of an off-the-ball player, which could become and absolute disaster.)
The backlash from the media and the rest of the league has been vicious and loud. Many feel like this is as ugly a situation as the Tim Donaghy “game-fixing” scandal of a few years ago. I wouldn’t go that far, but vetoing a trade without really clear grounds to do so and a possible conflict of interest stinks of conspiracy. Supposedly the three teams are back at it trying to come up with another possible scenario to push through a deal, or they may just take legal action against the league to accomplish the same task. In the end, this deal is probably going to go through in one way or the other. The big question is, how long is it going to take.
(for a longer article and great read on the topic: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7334835/the-sixth-day-nba-christmas)