DS: David Stern’s Double Standard ‘Basketball Reasons’


Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via CC

Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets agreed to a trade that would send superstar point guard Chris Paul to the city of angels; until the NBA got involved. Association commissioner David Stern elected to veto the three-team trade between Houston, Los Angeles and New Orleans infamously due to “basketball reasons.” Yet here we are almost around the same time of last year’s almost trade, and the Lake Show’s newest recruits are named Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.

It was reported by ESPN after the Paul trade was nixed that part of the reason for the decision to veto was due to outraged owners such as Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Apparently the owners were just fine with one of the association’s all-time great point guards and best active center going to the same team they were outraged Paul was to be traded to, however.

Given that the Lakers did give the Philedelphia 76ers Andrew Bynum in its four-team package for Howard, the deal is not as lopsided as the giveaway deal New Orleans agreed to with Paul, it’s still a deal that should have raised some flags around the league.

This is a trade that happened after Los Angeles was able to acquire Nash in a sign-and-trade deal from the Phoenix Suns earlier this offseason.

For the record, trades shouldn’t ever be vetoed in either fantasy or real sports if everyone involved agrees to the deal, but Stern set a precedent in the Paul debacle that he didn’t follow through with this time around.

The Lakers didn’t do anything wrong in creating their big-three of Nash, Howard and Kobe Bryant, but it’s shocking to see the NBA owners and commissioner not get involved in the team’s process of doing so.

Stern’s reign has been highlighted by allowing or assisting in the move of the Supersonics from Seattle, the Grizzlies from Vancouver and the Hornets from Charlotte. His administration has been accused of rigging the NBA Draft in both 1985 and 2012 when the New York Knicks and then-league owned Hornets won the lottery for the No. 1 overall pick. It only seems natural that Stern and co. would decide to make life difficult for the Lakers just one year after vetoing the Paul deal.

Then again, Los Angeles is still where Paul calls home with the Clippers and now the Lakers have a very marketable big-three that rivals that of the Miami Heat. Not to put on the tin foil hat and talk conspiracy, but the NBA’s decision to let Paul go to Lob City and allow the Lake Show to create a big-three one year later will likely work out nicely for the association’s pockets.

Stern simply did not follow through with the precedent he set last year after negating the Lakers deal with the Hornets during this offseason. The reasons behind that will certainly be debated throughout this season where Los Angeles will likely be one of the West’s top contenders for the NBA championship.