Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/9/11

On a sports day that had been dominated by news of Albert Pujols leaving the St. Louis Cardinals to head to Anaheim and the Angels, one could have reasonably expected a good night’s rest and relaxation. Instead, sports writers had to put on the coffee and gear up for another huge story, because the New Orleans Hornets stunned the basketball world and dealt star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The deal would have involved the Houston Rockets as well, and would have sent Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, Houston’s 2012 1st Round pick (acquired from the Knicks) and Lamar Odom to the Hornets. The Rockets would have acquired Pau Gasol as part of the trade, but the Lakers obviously would have made out like bandits by both keeping Andrew Bynum and acquiring Paul.

As you surely noticed, there are a lot of “would have’s” in that paragraph. And that’s because the NBA stepped in and nullified the trade.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, responding to pressure from basketball executives from around the league, nullified the trade on what can only be described as shaky grounds. According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

“Some owners pushed Stern to nullify the trade and that the Hornets be made to keep Paul on the roster for the foreseeable future, sources said. A chorus of owners were irate with the belief that the five-month lockout had happened largely to stop big-market teams from leveraging small-market teams for star players pending free agency.”

The Lakers have been involved with this kind of uprising before. Back in 2008, the Lakers acquired the aforementioned Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for a package that looks as bad now as it did then. The Lakers got Gasol and Memphis’ 2010 2nd round draft pick for Kwame Brown (6.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG in his career), Javaris Crittenton (5.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and currently charged with murder), Aaron McKie (a 36 year old the Lakers had signed that day, and didn’t play a minute for Memphis), and the draft rights to Marc Gasol (okay, he worked out). The Grizzlies also got the Lakers’ first round picks in 2008 and 2010.

That trade wasn’t nullified by the NBA despite its sheer idiocy, but this one inexplicably did. Yes, the NBA should have some control in situations where teams are trying to circumvent competitive balance and common sense, but in this situation, Stern and the league have massively overstepped their bounds. The Hornets know that Paul doesn’t want to be in New Orleans after this season, and so they are well within their rights to trade him to improve their standing in the future.

They do not want to end up like the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron James left, and this trade would have helped them make some progress towards that.

Odom is a very serviceable player who can add some size and some offensive punch to the Hornet lineup, and Martin, Dragic, and Scola are all good players as well. None of these guys are huge superstars, but they still can provide a solid base for a team in rebuilding mode to construct a quality squad around, and the Hornets seem to have gotten some good value for the deal. Unfortunately for them, Stern was put in a bad position by the executives who balked at the deal, and he made the wrong decision and sided with them.

Further complicating matters is that the Hornets are currently owned by the league, as the NBA is trying to find them a new owner and rescue them from bankruptcy. Obviously, it would be in the league’s best interest for the Hornets to retain Paul, as he is a marketable player who can drive ticket sales and TV ratings, but even still, to interfere with basketball operations to such an egregious degree is unacceptable, especially when a trade like the Gasol one was allowed to pass, despite the whole “victimizing small market team” argument that the NBA is using this time.

In addition, there is the matter of Paul now being forced to return to the Hornets. He is a very classy player, and he won’t let his dissatisfaction with the situation affect his play on the court if he actually plays for New Orleans this season. Despite that, however, one can’t help but feel sorry for a player stuck in a situation that isn’t his own fault, playing for a team that is going nowhere either financially or competitively.

The NBA needs to mind its P’s and Q’s from now on when it comes to this type of stuff. Affecting a team’s ability to conduct its operations, especially in what seems to be a fair trade like this one, is a dangerous precedent for a league coming off a work stoppage that has dropped its standing in the minds of sports fans.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Kevin Durant has...RUSSELL MANIA!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

James Harden organizing players-only minicamp with Rockets

Raiders file trademark applications for ‘Las Vegas Raiders’

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Can Perriman's return help Ravens find oft-elusive WR success?

Five MLB players with a lot to lose down the stretch

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Bruce Arians on sideline video use: 'It helps bad coaches'

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

Junk Diver: Yasiel Puig

Fan freaks out Yankees by falling into the dugout

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Can Perriman's return help Ravens find oft-elusive WR success?

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

The 24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker