The Deal That Died

Darius Soriano —  December 9, 2011

 It’s been over a half day since the Lakers had Chris Paul in their mitts only to suddenly not. It’s a nifty magic trick to make a player disappear in plain sight but that’s what the owners of the Hornets - who double as the owners of the other 29 franchises in the NBA – did on Thursday evening.

Rehashing every detail inspires anger, but somewhat necessary. The Lakers were set to deal away two thirds of their advantageous front court for the purest point guard in the land. Gasol and Odom – two pillars of character and, combined, elite production – would be shipped away. Their loss can not be overstated or overlooked. Without them the Lakers don’t win back to back championships in ’09 and ’10; they don’t make an unthought-of of Finals run in ’08; they’re not considered one of the handful of championship contenders every season.

In return they would have gotten the six foot maestro of tempo and efficiency the league has not seen the likes of in a generation. The evolutionary Zeke Thomas with the mean streak to match. For all the concerns about a suspect wheel, Paul is a bona fide top 5 player in the league and impacts the game in ways other play makers simply don’t. I remember the first round of the playoffs in 2011 quite well with guys like David Andersen and Aaron Gray looking like above average big men and slashers like Trevor Ariza and Willie Green getting hit in stride in the creases of a Laker defense thought to be too formidable to be pushed by such average talents. Paul elevates his teammates. He can make depleted rosters better and would have done so with the Lakers holdovers that match that “average” description. What he could have done for the games of Andrew Bynum or Kobe Bryant inspire a wry grin just thinking of it.

But it’s not to be. The league has decreed the deal dead. That has consequences the must be looked at:

The Bad
The Lakers find themselves in the unenviable position of having players on their roster that feel unwanted. Lamar Odom – a key lockerroom cog, a leader, an unquestioned talent – did not report to training camp today. Pau Gasol did report and tweeted messages of positivity, but lets be real: he too is surely upset and wonders where he stands within the Laker organization regardless of how he thinks of himself as an all world talent.

The Lakers need to heal and in a compressed season under a new coaching staff where there was barely going to be enough time to learn sets, they now have to re-learn how to trust; how to co-exist. A fractured relationship does not get repaired the same way that a leaky back side coverage of a pick and roll does. This can’t be remedied by the x’s and o’s on a grease board.

Is Mike Brown – an excellent teacher – up to the task of being a healer? We shall see but the challenge is in front of him now.

He’ll also need help from the other leaders on this team. Kobe Bryant must reach out to his mates to reassure them that a management decision does not impact his mind about what these players mean to him, to his team. Phil Jackson is gone now,Kobeis the holdover that must channel some of that zen to bring his mates back into the fold of the family. Derek Fisher must also step in and perform some of his own unifying magic. The man that led the union in a fight against the owners must now lead his players in a similar fight against those that wish to tear the team apart.

I don’t envy anyone in this scenario. Their work is hard and there’s no set path to walk to get it done.

The Good
Despite that awkwardness that will exist it needs to be remembered that the Lakers roster, as constructed, is a damned good one. Those rumors that had them acquiring some of the best players in the world are only in place because the existing talent is good enough to bring those players toLos Angeles. Those that don’t believe in this team have the Mavericks series fresh on their minds and I don’t blame them. However, those that do believe understand that a healthy off-season for every single one of the Lakers top 6 players just happened.

KobeBryant is refreshed. Andrew Bynum is, by all accounts, ready to make an impact as far reaching as his mammoth wing span. Removing the emotional baggage discussed above will be difficult for Gasol and Odom (especially Odom) but they too had a long off-season to recuperate, reflect, and recharge. This team has motivation to prove the doubters wrong and even without a Paul or a Howard are primed to make a push. A team doesn’t go from elite to afterthought overnight. At least not this one; not with #24 on the team.

A balance must be struck. The deal that was reported died. It was killed by a league of owners that are too busy worried about their pocket books and the fortunes of the Lakers to see anything else but what helps line their own pockets. Commissioner David Stern has become the anti Pinocchio turning from a human to a puppet right before our eyes. This is nature of the league now and as a basketball fan this angers me to no end.

But as a Lakers fan, the time to feel bad or be angry is pretty much over. It’s now time to work on healing. And learning. The season starts in 16 days when the Bulls visit the team. As far as I know – as far as anyone knows – the team as constituted now (save for some FA signings to address depth) will be the team that dives into the trenches together on Christmas Day. The deal that died must soon become a memory – just as all things that pass away do.

Darius Soriano

Posts

115 responses to The Deal That Died

  1. Derek Fisher has more experience anyways

  2. After i found out Lakers will get only Paul for this trade, i don’t like it. Paul is good point guard, no question about it, but gaving Gasol and Odom is too much, at least Lakers should
    also get Scola of Houston in return. Paul did not have championship rings like Gasol and Odom.
    The bad trade Shaq for Odom and Carol Butler and after that Kwame Brown i still remember.

  3. How can healing begin with the Lakers appealing the veto?!? The message is loud and clear to LO and Pau: “we still would rather have CP3″…

    The Lakers can’t allow this appeal to last more than a couple days. How do they do any other trades with an active appeal? How do they get LO’s and Pau’s heads right?

    The rumors that this trade was just an appetizer to D12 have to be true if the Lakers dig their heals in on this appeal…

  4. Adrian Wojnarowski: On renewed talks for nixed Chris Paul blockbuster: “All three teams are engaged,” one source tells Y! Sports. “Not sure if it will work.”

  5. Once the decision to uphold this veto is affirmed by the league, Jerry Buss should issue a statement excoriating David Stern for his gross abuse of power.

    The rationale offered by Stern is that this deal was not good for the Hornets. That is absurd on its face, and represents an absolute violation of the league’s fiduciary responsibility to the Hornets.

    The actual motivation for the veto was to prevent a “large market” team from packing its roster with superstars, but this line of reasoning cannot possibly stand the test of time. Tampering aside, how can New Jersey be permitted to trade for Dwight Howard? They have a billionaire owner and even before their upcoming move to Brooklyn they are part of the largest media market in the country.

    With this precedent, there is no way the Lakers can trade for Howard either. If the commissioner retains the authority to approve or disapprove any trade, how can Stern allow the Lakers to trade for Howard? Is it not exactly the same outcome?

    That the league owns the Hornets is irrelevant if a majority of owners can persuade the commissioner to use his authority to veto a trade. Stern simply used his “ownership” argument in vetoing the Paul trade, but that shouldn’t stop him from using his “commisioner’s final approval of all NBA trades” argument for stopping Dwight from coming to L.A.

    Finally, if the league’s position is that Chris Paul cannot be traded to a large market team, why wasn’t this position articulated much earlier to all NBA teams who have been working on prospective Paul deals all week long?

    David Stern is a hugely overrated and overpaid snob who has taken credit for the explosion in popularity of a league that was caused by great players like Magic, Bird, Jordan, Shaq, Kobe & Lebron. The truth of the matter is that Jerry Buss, with his enormous risk-taking, has done more to grow the popularity of the NBA on the world stage than David Stern could ever dream of doing–and yet Stern just stabbed Buss in the back. Nice.

    Oh, and L.O. should be fined for missing practice. What happened to him sucks, but he is paid nearly $9 million a year to be a professonal. So be one.

  6. #3. The Lakers are not appealing the veto. They’re supposedly re-engaging in talks. If something happens, we move on and analyze that. If not, this is the team. Everyone knows they try to get this done asap or it will be very ugly. I’d assume this is the last shot at it.

  7. I may take up smoking again

  8. *snorts*

    With the blowback that the league just got and the latest leaked Dan Gilbert whinefest, if the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets come up with another, slightly tweaked, version of this trade the league will approve it, claim victory, and then try and sweep this entire mess under the rug ASAP.

    I doubt they anticipated the explosion around this from all corners of the basketball world, and they definitely didn’t anticipate the smoking gun which was Dan Gilbert’s letter coming out.

    My gut feeling is that this deal (or one very much like it) still gets done, and the Lakers follow it up with some sort of package for Howard.

  9. i think this is a lot more serious than people seem to be treating it. to me, the nba has absolutely 0 credibility as a sport, and as an athletic contest. it is now a charade, a spectacle without meaning or import. just what are all those expensive seats actually about now? do people pay $1500/seat for WWF events?

    you can talk all you want about soldiering on, but this league has been tainted by what stern and the owners have done. and this opinion does not come from anger over not getting CP3; I would feel exactly the same way if it were the Celtics that had been jammed this way (and I hate the celtics more than I love the Lakers).

    i will still watch games, if nothing better is on — once the NFL season is over.

  10. - Gasol and Odom are not the only players who are feeling unwanted from this fiasco. Bynum has to know that the Lakers want to trade him for Dwight, and Fish now realizes that the team prefers him to be the second or third string backup at PG. In other words, three out of the five starters from last season are not feeling very wanted right now. Phil Jackson in his prime MIGHT have been able to manage all of these fragile egos, and motivate them to focus on a championship, but I highly doubt a brand new coaching staff would be able to deal with this unprecedented problem……and yes, it is a major problem. For these reasons, I think the front office has no choice but to do everything in their power to continue their pursuit of Chris Paul and Dwight. The entire season could be at stake.

  11. The deal already felt like L.A. was giving up a lot, considering they’d be starting a frontline of Caracter and… Walton? for the first 5 games without finding so other stop gap solution at PF. I’m sure I’m a homer, and I didn’t love New Orleans’ side of the deal that much either, but how much more will they have to give up?

    Why wouldn’t the Hornets just take Odom and Pau directly? Is that worse?

    Guhhhh. If these talks don’t go through, Odom and Pau will just be that much more upset. This is such a joke.

  12. @#10

    Somehow I’m thinking that Fisher guessed a while ago the Lakers are looking for a PG upgrade. They’ve been looking for one for about five years now. I doubt that Fish would have been that shocked or surprised to find out that the Lakers would rather have Chris Paul starting beside Kobe Bryant than him.

  13. #9. I think it’d be better if you didn’t watch. Why, if it’s a charade. I think your time would be better spent doing other things if that’s how you feel.

  14. Would throwing in a 2nd round pick be enough of a face saver? LOL!

  15. I doubt very many people really think this deal was only for Chris Paul. I suspect the deal is truly dead if Dwight Howard gets traded elsewhere.

    Short of that, I wonder if Orlando and another franchise could be brought into discussions and we get a 4-6 team trade that nets the Lakers Paul, Howard, and a another forward. If it happens – in light of this entire fiasco – I suspect the league would simply let it all go though.

  16. #14

    I think that’s what it is going to come down to. Stern can’t like the publicity that he and his owners just got. There will be some sort of minor tweaking to the deal so Stern can say with a straight face to the camera, “This NEW deal is fair and that’s why we’re approving this one but not the last one.”

    Some very late draft pick or a young player or something will be tossed in and magically the deal will be SO MUCH BETTER for the Hornets.

  17. Let’s all be honest. Commissioner Stern is a capital D Douchebag. Douchier than any of Wall Street greaseballs I see hanging in the bars of NYC.

    That’s said. Lakers add a draft pick to the package and take say Okafor and the deal is done. That is how the league saves face. The owners were mad that the Lakers were clearing cap space than about them getting Paul anyway.

  18. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind taking Okafur or even Aaron Gray back as a backup plan in case we’re not able to flip Bynum for Howard after doing this deal.

    A Bynum/Okafur front line to go with a Kobe/Paul backcourt would look just fine to me.

  19. Darius,
    Of all the times I don’t feel this is one to defend the integrity of the NBA.

  20. 15,

    I agree, and that is why I believe the rumors of Howard wanting to go the Nets are a smokescreen. It came out of nowhere. It seemed like a move to make it seem like the Lakers are not his preferred destination so guys like Gilbert would shut up. But if Howard wants to leave Orlando to go to a contender the Nets make no sense. He and Williams are not enough to fight off the Knicks, Bulls, or Heat. He would be playing for fourth place in the East every year like he is now. Going to Brooklyn would be a lateral move for Howard. That is, unless there is another stellar player coming in that we don’t know about.

    My guess is the Lakers will still reconfigure their roster. They basically have no choice at this point. The relationship between Gasol, Odom and the front office is most likely damaged beyond repair.

  21. #19. Are you saying I’m doing that? If so, I’d like to know where. What I’m saying is, if you say the league’s a sham, why watch? if you compare the league to rollerball or wrestling, imply the fix is in, and then claim it has no meaning, why waste your time on it?

    You see, I don’t believe those things about the NBA. I think Stern and the owners are showing a lack of judgment here that needs to be called out. I think they’re being short sighted and that owners like Dan Gilbert are worried about their bottom lines more than the league as a whole and certainly more than the welfare of the Hornets. But I don’t think the fix is in nor do I think the league is a charade. Hence, the league still matters to me.

    If I *did* think those things, I wouldn’t spend my time watching the league and I certainly wouldn’t go to a basketball site and write comments explaining that I felt that way. I’d spend my time in a more productive manner. What would you do?

  22. This by no means is a slight towards Jim Buss since I think he hasn’t had enough time to establish his own reputation and legacy.

    But if this situation happened 10 or 15 years ago with a younger more energetic Jerry, I’ve got to think Jerry would have gone to war in the background with the other owners. There would have been some serious fireworks between Jerry and other big market owners against guys like Gilbert.

  23. supposedly, in the initial deal that got blocked, there were two traded player exceptions, one that was $8mil and the other like $2mil? I had wondered then whether these were tradeable things that we can throw into the offer for dwight, which was why mitch was able to put LO in the initial offer.

    if we take back a contract or two (emeka and maybe trevor?), and give these up, shouldn’t it be enough to nullify the money portion of gilbert’s rant?

    maybe the three teams got the guidelines of how this deal can be modified for approval from stern and are going by it. otherwise, why would they bother?

    wishful thinking

  24. I’m actually astonished on how quiet the Buss family has been over the last few months.

    Most of the changes to the CBA have been to take money directly out of their pockets and undo a lot of the success that the Lakers have managed to build up and maintain. Most of what has been agreed to directly harms the Lakers, but the Buss family has gone along with it for the greater good of the league as a whole.

    But I’d expect some of those fireworks that chownoir is referencing if this doesn’t go through in some fashion or another. Only so much “team” play you can expect the Lakers to roll with.

  25. It may be one of the dumbest decisions ever in sports because it really hits at almost every level of the game. The league, the players and fans deserve a better explanation than what we’ve received. Stern and his minions are not setting the example they have expected mostly everyone else to follow. (Can Gilbert be stripped of his ownership? That would at least be a consolation. Imagine Lebron having to deal with that idiot ever day!) So I don’t see how you can really miove on. Obviously we all have to punch in the clock, but you cannot be surprised if the effort is not there.

  26. why will i watch? because i love the sport, and even in tainted form there will be individual moments and plays that make it worthwhile. eventually things will get back to where i will care about the league, nothing stays the same forever — good or bad.

  27. Biggest winner of this fiasco? I say LeBron–For the first time ever, I can understand why he wanted out of Cleveland….

  28. 21)
    Thanks for clarifying. I agree

  29. But Darius… in some sense the fix was in. it’s collusion to an extent unless you believe the junk that Stern has put out. Amd you would have to beleive only someone of it as the nba has put out contradicting statements.

  30. Lamar eventually made it to 1st day workouts, albeit, 90 mins late … And then, after meeting with GM Kupchak, left early. Unfortunately, looks as if Mike Brown will have to be more physciatrist than Coach this season.

  31. in the midst of all of this, lakers.com is featuring a lead story about jason kapono and a secondary story about luke playing ping pong. No mention anywhere of yesterday’s debacle

    you can’t have a free press without a democracy, i suppose.

  32. I just pray there is a resolution by Monday, otherwise this season is going to be long and ugly. As currently constructed you have to say the Lakers are the best or second best team out west with Dallas losing Caron Butler, Chandler and probably Barea. I think they can still beat the Thunder because they matchup well and the only team the Lakers couldn’t beat as constructed are the Heat.

  33. Lakers don’t have to rebel against the league but there should be a strong letter from Jerry or Jim Buss expressing their feelings being a part owner of Hornets and majority owner of the Lakers. Put on the record that Lakers do not agree with this move by the Commissioner because it could open a new can of worms in the future.

    Secondly, when will the NBA religuish the ownership of Hornets by going on a fire sale. If not, they should sell the team and move it to another city of the new owners.

    Emotionally, it is hard to gauge Lamar and Pau after the aborted trade. When the team was on rampage to get the 12th ring for Phil, they have already lackadaisical attitude with their imaginary switch, what more now after they just gone through hell of being traded from la la land to nowhere land. Louisiana is not on the cup of tea of Kloe, it affects her onion skin & there’s no high society at the French Quarters. Watch out for Lamar asking to be traded back to South Beach, Miami and possibly for Pau joining his brother to Memphis or Minny’s Ricky Rubio. They are like the character on the Humpty Dumpty riddle that after a great fall, all Lakers men and all Stern’s apologies cannot put these Humpty Dumpties together again. Let’s fast forward to 2012 season.

  34. just out of curiosity, is the goal of this blog to increase readership or decrease it?

  35. Ken Berger: In resumption of CP3-Lakers talks with Houston, Hornets under directive from NBA to get younger players, quality picks in deal, souces say. about 7 minutes ago

    what did i tell you? look at houston’s roster. there are 8 or 9 players on rookie deals, the majority of them with TEAM OPTIONS for next season, which makes them expiring contracts, virtually.

    the question now is what kind of price houston is willing to pay for pau gasol.

  36. I think cjm’s initial point is very valid. The sham aspect is legit, since the league has now clearly shown teams aren’t allowed to do business as they deem fit — unless Uncle David and a contingent of whiny owners agrees, then the stakes are rigged.

    There is no justifiable basketball reason to stop the Lakers from giving up two All-Star level players to land Paul, with New Orleans netting four very good to good players in return, rather than letting Paul walk for nothing next summer.

    Larry Bird whined about the Lakers getting Mychal Thompson in 1987, and Popovich whined about the Gasol deal in 2008. Only now, enough people whining apparently is enough to stop the Lakers from making a legit deal. How can the league pretend to be fair when things like that go on?

  37. The NBA might be wanting the hornets to dump as much salary off the Hornets as possible so they are easier to sell

  38. Leaving aside for the moment that what raised the value of every NBA franchise over the last 30 years has been the OPPOSITE of “competitive balance”, the fastest and simplest way to achieve such balance is for the unsuccessful franchises in small markets (like Mr. Gilbert’s own team) to be disbanded.

  39. 35,

    The Hornets have only 6 players plus two draft picks. Paul and Okafor have the highest salaries, if they agreed with that trade last night, it would have been a fresh start with much lower total salaries @ $42M.

    http://hoopshype.com/salaries/new_orleans.htm

  40. On the other hand….

    Did you notice that Chauncey Billups, Gilbert Arenas *and* Rip Hamilton got amnestied today?

    Between those three, don’t we have enough to fill out our back-court? Arenas at 18M was prohibitive, but at 1 or 2 M, especially with the lure of a ring, could be a more than adequate fill-in for Shannon Brown

  41. #38

    I’m not sure I like the idea of having Ron Artest…er Metta World Peace and Gilbert Arenas sharing the same locker room.

  42. 35)
    Ha. Well… Most people thought the NBA blocked the trade because they thought the deal wasn’t good enough for the Hornets. In fact… It appeared the deal was too good for the Hornets. The Hornets got too many good players… And good players tend to be paid well.

  43. Here is another thinking coming from small market owner:

    “Utah Jazz President Randy Rigby applauded the NBA’s decision to nix a trade that would have sent New Orleans’ star guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. Rigby said owners had no say in the move. But as a small-market team, Rigby said it is important to keep players in an organization long term after so much effort and time are spent developing them.” – Deseret News

    Yeah right, keep on developing until they grow old and weary in chasing a ring like what happened to Stockton and Malone

  44. Guys, all the Lakers have to do to make this deal happen is to add Omeka Okafor. That will appease the money-grubbing ways of Dan Gilbert, who supposedly objected mostly on the “unfairness” of the financial impact on the Lakers.

  45. The league being ‘rigged’ perspective is blown out of proportion. While some small market owners clearly pressed Stern into this veto, let’s not forget that this is only possible because the NBA owns the Hornets. No such possibility exists when business is conducted between the league’s other 29 teams.

    The league wants (needs) to sell the Hornets. To do that, they either want a franchise marquee player there, or a roster full of young cheap talent. The original deal left too much salary on the cap (Okafor, Ariza, Jack and Scola) and no young talent (Dragic is not the kind of young player a perspective buyer would drool over). Add on top of that the fact they would not get any lottery picks, and you can see Stern’s thinking.

    This isn’t to say I agree with Stern; his decision infuriated me. But it’s not indefensible. I do hope that a tweaked trade (one that will give Hornets young players and as much cap room as possible for next year) will allow Stern to save face and get the three teams their new players.

  46. #34. You seem new, so you should know that the goal is to have an intelligent, nuanced discussion about the Lakers specifically, and the NBA in general. My question is, are you trying to be part of it or not? As an aside, what I’ve found is that “readers” are not the same as “commenters”.

  47. “Championship-less Utah Jazz President Randy Rigby applauded the NBA’s decision. Rigby was quoted as saying ‘Now maybe we can get that second popcorn machine that is really going to put our team on the map.’ The team recently acquired a 2nd hand Zamboni, with the intent of using it in the #5 spot. Commissioner David Stern has yet to consult his magic 8 ball to make a ruling on the somewhat unorthodox roster move, although he did say that Zamboni had a fine season playing in Italy last year”

  48. C’mon. Do you seriously believe that the lack of young players going to the Hornets is what stopped this trade? Did you not read Dan Gilbert’s letter or Cuban’s comments? These owners are concerned about their share of the Lakers’ revenue, players dictating trades to big markets, Cuban’s jealousy for not being able to land Paul, and last but not least, the horror of a potential Kobe/CP3/Dwight trio. How the Hornets benefit from this trade is the last thing on their minds, or at the very least, not a very high priority.

    Stern’s insistence to get more young players for the Hornets is nothing but a ploy to save face and reverse his veto.

  49. You guys got me thinking… I think the league wants to go with guys with expiring contracts because they plan to cut 2 teams from the league. The owners already bought out one franchise (Hornets), so buying out another would hurt less than having to pay out of for two franchises at once. Also, I would assume that if the league downsizes, the players under contract would get some sort of guaranteed cash if no team chooses to pick them up (or perhaps a system like the amnesty system that is in play now).

    That actually explains a lot if you think about it: why trade and make this team “better” when you are just going to close shop at the end of the year?

  50. The NBA speaks with forked tongue. I didn’t say it, the chief did. Look, this is Lamar’s last fully guaranteed year, Martin has this year and next, and this is Dragic’s last contract year. Only Scola is signed for any relatively significant period of time. So there ought not be any concern over the contract dollars that NO would be assuming. And in the meantime, by the way, the team would actually be competitive. Certainly not enough to win the thing, but they weren’t going to do that anyway.

    Lastly, the most disturbing aspect to this whole sad and sordid affair is that everyone and his second cousin, twice removed, is harping on LA Lakers this, NO Hornets that….while no one is speaking of the Houston Rockets. The Rockets got royally hosed here, and I’ll provide a link on the same in a moment, but first, re giving up younger players with less salary, that won’t work for Houston, defeats the purpose:

    http://www.chron.com/sports/rockets/article/NBA-nixes-deal-that-would-have-sent-Gasol-to-2391229.php

    They actually had a reasonable plan. Sure, they too wouldn’t be winning it all, but would have a good shot at the playoffs if their plan worked out, and if they could finish 6th and so manage to avoid OKC and the Lakers in round 1, they might even make it to round 2. As you can see, should the Nets now avoid Howard like the plague owing to the tampering allegation, and sign Nene instead, Houston then has no reason to make the deal.

    David Stern is complete and utter hack and the NBA is now just that much closer to the WWF. And so I’m not misunderstood, I don’t like the trade unless Howard is waiting in the wings, since even with Paul, should Bynum go down, season over. And as we all know, the risk of Bynum going down is not insignificant.

    Almost forgot, but the consolation here would presumably be Chandler joining Butler in leaving Dallas, and so goodbye Mavs for this year, meaning that so long as MWP can play decent D on Durant, expect a Lakers-Heat Final.

  51. I read every article posted here, as I did under the previous . Disagreement is fine, but more than once you have made comments that lead me to believe you prefer to have the “right” kind of readers. It’s your blog to do with as you wish, ban me, slam me, whatever. I’ll keep reading anyway. Hell i would even kick in a few $$ so you can get a better server :)

    But I don’t think you are going to make it to the next level — if that is your goal — with the attitude you frequently display here. Your response to that last statement (if you even let this post through) will be telling.

  52. 51, n.o. doesn’t want to be competitive. they want to tank the season while developing young guys, so they can wind up with a shot at winning the lottery in a highly regarded draft class.

  53. #52. Thanks for your continued support regardless if you agree with me or not.

    Also, there’s no way to limit readers besides being bad at this.

    Also, thanks for the career advice.

  54. #52. I should also point out, commenters come and go with the times. If I really wanted to regulate things, I’d make commenters sign up for accounts and/or hold every comment in moderation and review it. Instead, we have commenting guidelines that I expect everyone to follow. Which, for the most part, they do. If you, or anyone else, doesn’t the comment will be edited or deleted.

  55. How is refusing a trade that makes you a better team in the hopes of another trade that makes you a worse (but more desirable from the perspective of a potential buyer) team any different than an owner ordering his coach to sit his best players to ensure the team loses and guarantees a higher draft pick?

  56. On top of the lockout nonsense, now this? The NBA overtly gaming the system is something that might sour me to the point of not watching the games. It took me years to return to watching basketball after Magic’s 1st retirement. In fact, I always have something better to do than watch a basketball game.

    When the referees show out to the camera and the Dan Gilbert types are continually whining about every little molecule that doesn’t fall their way, it pushes me farther away. I’d never make a good GM but certainly some of these professional GMs never will either.

    For all of the whining, the Gasol trade made Memphis better within their rebuilding window. Heisley was painted as an idiot but when the Spurs got a bootprint on their neck, not one of the naysayers said they were wrong about the trade, the Zack Randolph pick up, etc.

    I feel badly for Gasol and Odom since it has to blow showing up to work knowing their present employer is breaking their necks to bounce them out of there. I guess shouldn’t since they have several millions of dollars coming to them this year to assuage their bewilderment.

  57. As i said, it’s your blog and I have no problem abiding by your requests. But your criticism wasn’t related to improper comments, you simply disliked (as well as misinterpreted) what I said regarding the league’s credibility — and strongly implied that you would prefer I not bother you with my views and opinions.

    As for career advice, many successful companies and individuals have had great success denigrating their customers (and that’s what I am, *your* customer) — I just can’t think of any of them now.

    What are your personal goals with this blog, care to share them with us? That is a genuine question, that may be of interest to your other *customers*.

    In closing I will just say that my only intent here is to have fun, talk Lakers, and learn a few things. Any other impressions my comments give, are due to poor word choice (or poor reading skills) :)

    Good luck and thank you for your efforts on behalf of Lakers fans everywhere.

  58. @Slappy, You are absolutely correct about the Rockets. They had a plan in place that seems to now be unattainable. The idea was not to just bring in a 31 year old Gasol at any cost. They wanted both Nene and Gasol to anchor the front line and blend with all of the improving youngsters. The Rockets already agreed to part with their two best players, an expendable Dragic, and a 1st round pick. That in itself is too steep of a price for only Gasol if the other end of the plan is a no-go. They might throw in Jordan Hill, Jonny Flynn, or Terrence Williams, but not Peterson, Lowry, Bud, Courtney Lee, or the rookies.

  59. i hate stern as a much as anyone else- the kick to the jejunum was quite unpleasant last night.

    think about this though- he nixes trade, NO gets an upgraded offer (sort of like a fake call in poker- oh i meant, i get to see your cards but you don’t get to see mine). demps kept the league constantly informed and they were precisely aware of what was happening the entire time.

    of course, it’s a big gamble since the opposite can happen, in which nobody wants to play in a sandbox w/o rules and paul walks.

    but either way, he wins:

    a) he gets the better offer and stays relevant (enhances his power).

    or

    b)he fails and says he was protecting the league as the only guardian that can (confirms his power).

    that’s what happens when you get someone playing with house money and no real group to take him to task. he stays the power-monger.

  60. Igor,

    If Paul was ready to go now, why would he re-up after this has occurred? Marquee players don’t get traded for equal value. Shaq didn’t get traded for Wade. Melo didn’t get traded for Stoudamire.

    “Rigged” comes from the extra scrutiny and jealously cast upon the Lakers during the Buss era. It’s not luchadore masks and Hulk Hogan level but it’s still unnecessary interference by a collection of NBA owners who want to win by whining the loudest. NO is not going to compete until after its sold. The veto handicaps Lakers and Houston weakening their leverage and compressing their timeline.

  61. What kind of world do some of these owners live in? Why should anyone be sentenced to playing in Utah? Who is stupid enough to think that the big markets are where everyone wants to play – Sterling was worse than kryptonite for years! A winning franchise is a winner at all employment levels – most of the team effort is on the court, but everyone pitches in. OKC is a small market on the verge of winning it all, and it didn’t get there by bitching like Gilbert or spending millions like Cuban. I don’t know what’s more flawed: the NBA’s so-called business model, the clueless owners who feel they should get more handouts for their poor personnel choices, or the complete lack of transparency coming from the NBA.

  62. Igor,

    I missed the edit time. I actually agreed with your take and via distraction hit the “submit” button then couldn’t change it in time.

  63. What annoys me about this situation is that a lot of teams are spending today picking up role players. The Celtics picked up Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox. Neither is groundbreaking, but both are solid.

    L.A. maybe had no chance at either, but they can’t really do anything until they know the status of this trade. And if it DOES go through they’ll need to find some of these types of players to fill in at PF.

    Have they missed out on any actual deals? Probably not, but in a shortened FA period, with camp already opening, a 3 day delay on a deal (that may never get done) is an issue.

    Annoying. I’m now checking out until someone has news of actual deals going through.

  64. 49 is spot on.

  65. Starting from the lockout, anyone with marginal intelligence should have seen the league for what it was – a few dedicated families running it as their pride and joy, but a majority of owners who think of their teams as nothing but financial assets, bragging rights and jolts of power.

    The fans benefit not from parity, but from owners who are FANS at the same time. Having owners who act like fans owning fantasy league teams with a vested interest in its outcome plus some realistic monetary concerns make this league credible and immersible.

    Unfortunately the lockout, or rather, the negotiating process, showed us that this was not the case, and some teams that were proud are being treated like property by the hands of second generation owners.

    It was an uncomfortable realization, but thought we were over that when the lockout ended, and I was ready to move on and act as if nothing had happened because I loved the game and wanted my players to do what they do best.

    That thought was aided along with the rumors of a big trade that are just too big for fantasies – CP3 and DH12 to the Lakers. Aside from the basketball reasons, such a deal has no chance of happening in fantasy leagues because there are no such circumstances, and the fact that it went through made many realize that this was what they were waiting for, the real thing.

    Only to find out that it was very arbitrarily called off by the owners, and flying in the face of everything that a true basketball fan holds sacred.

    Yes, I am bitter, disillusioned, and question the integrity of the league. Yes, I am mad that the league put me in a position to do so. And the fact that it involved my team, and two of my favorite players just adds to it. A truly sad day for a fan of basketball.

  66. i can’t believe how many butt-hurt lunatics there are in here.

  67. Does anyone know if Jackie Moon and Coffee Black are free agents? :)

  68. So what kind of amendments to the original deal do you think will it take to get this done?

    I see a couple of broadstrokes possibilities:

    1. Hou removes Scola from the deal and replaces him with 3 baby contracts (or contracts, plus picks). Conceivably, the Lakers could provide one of these picks if they wished to).

    2. The Lakers take back Okafur rather then the rumored 9M exception. Perhaps they could include some lesser outgoing contracts to soften the blow (Blake or Fish). (The problem is that that 9M exception may have been a critical part of the Drew/DH12 trade– just speculating here)

    3. Houston does a side deal with a 4th team for Scola for picks and sends those picks to NO. I guess the Lakers could try to do something similar with Lamar.

    4. The Lakers add 1 or 2 bottom of the roster guys (Ebanks, Goudelock) to ‘sweeten’ the deal.

    Other ideas?

    FWIW, I agree with those above who say this is all cosmetic. I suspect NO could have turned Scola and/or Lamar into shorter contracts, presumably, if they wished to. It must have been miserable in El Segundo today; let’s get this done asap and move forward.

  69. #58. cjm,
    My goals are simply to provide thought provoking content that inspires to good conversation. That’s it. I try to do that the best way I know. And, I mean no disrespect to readers or commenters of the site. If it came off that way I apologize. At this point, though, I’d prefer not to continue this just because I don’t feel it’s in line with the rest of the thread. Hope you understand.

  70. This is so stupid:

    https://twitter.com/#!/WojYahooNBA/status/145314892914761729

    Verbatim one of his lockout negotiations posts. If there’s no news, maybe we can do without reporting it?

  71. good enough. thanks for taking the time to discuss it.

  72. I think the hopes that this trade will be finally authorized show an awfully optimistic view of the reasonableness of David Stern. Some have been lamenting Stern’s egomania and his increasing desire to laud it over the league. Bryant Gumbel’s claim should have renewed resonance for people who dismissed it at first.

    I think this situation is a clusterfurg coming together of the inappropriateness of the league owning a team and Stern’s servility to the wishes of the owners. It seems they made the owners made their pleas but what really blows my mind about that is that it wasn’t that the Lakers were doing better but that their payroll would decrease to the extent that the smaller-market teams would reap fewer benefits via revenue sharing. Gilbert and presumably other cheap owners obviously don’t wanna spend their own money to make their own teams better. Pathetic. Clearly, Stern allowed himself to be swayed by the arguments and used the league-owned status of the Hornets as a fig leaf for his serving the owners’ purposes also. Truly a clusterfurg. I really don’t think anyone should be too surprised.

  73. I didn’t like this trade anyway…

    I’m dreaming for the day we’ll trade Bynum (and maybe some pieces, preferably not Odom, ok…) for Howard.

    There is our big 3: Kobe, Pau and DH.

    We need a PG but…just 1 with 2 arms to pass the ball to the above 3 players.

    Cheers

  74. The 10,000-pound elephant in the room is that in the new CBA, the league delayed implementation of some of the more punitive player-movement restrictions for 2 years.

    If they didn’t want CP3 going to the Lakers, they should have insisted that the stronger restrictions be in place from Day 1.

    Of course, that would have made the players unhappy and possibly prevented the CBA from being ratified.

    This all boils down to a pretty simple fact: There is no objective justification for the league squashing the deal. The only reason they did it is because CP3 going to the Lakers after the league whining for 2+ years about “competitive balance” issues looked bad.

  75. Ronny Turiaf, originally linked to the Lakers is going to Washington. Not exactly prime target, but these are exactly the kinds of players L.A. can’t go after if they’re caught up in a lengthy Stern created quagmire.

    Also: very fresh rumor-y: David West may be signing in Boston, possibly in a sign and trade with New Orleans.

  76. David West 3 years ~30 million in a sign and trade for Jermaine O’Neal. THis adds to NOH’s salary obligations, making the Chris Paul deal harder.

  77. Boston is a big market team. Why do they get to steal David West for only Jermaine O’Neal?

  78. @79 – Because the NBA don’t want the Lakers to win anymore, nor Kobe ties with MJ.

    I’ve been under heavy stress lately; can we just talk about DH? Is there any chance we ship Bynum + etc for DH?

    The CP3 deal made me think that Mitch has the DH trade under control, otherwise the deal leave us without a center. Let’s just get DH and move on, nothing else needed.

    Cheers

  79. I’m too caffeinated and angry to sensibly talk about any of this. I don’t want to troll. But OMFG I’m angry at this whole thing.

  80. This is bs and has been since it was nixed. Gilbert is contradicting himself and upset b/c he lost his star player for failure to constructing a winning team. Stern’s logic that its better for CP3 to remain in New Orleans makes no sense as its evident he’s going to leave them for nothing.

  81. Rediculous if celtics get west for jermaine o’neal’s corpse.

  82. Adrian Wojnarowski
    The agent for Dwight Howard, Dan Fegan, tells Y! Sports that Orlando has given Howard permission to talk to three teams.

  83. We’re all angry. Thanks to Darius for being patient and letting us vent a bit.

    West in Boston is…weird. Neither he nor Garnett can play the center position well. Looks like they’re trying to change Chris Paul’s mind on Boston, by signing one of his closest friends.

    In terms of our moves, I want Gasol here. Trading Odom – although emotionally I really want him here – might be smart as I doubt he’ll replicate last year’s success. His trade value will only go downhill from here. Just wish Philly liked him enough to give up Iguodala. I’d rather go after Paul with a S&T option next year than deplete our front-court. Whatever team has him will be more willing to take back less value than get nothing in return.

    The real question will be what Stern does now. Is he affected by this vitriol at all? If the Lakers/Rockets/Hornets make a 2nd attempt at a deal, does he have the stones to block it again? Will he let the Hornets make the first non-Lakers deal that comes along?

    In unrelated news, Charlie Bell showed up to his DUI hearing with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

  84. maybe the celtics are going to try to trade kg and ray allen for turk and howard, and then find a 3rd to take rondo for the assets needed for chris paul.

    that would be pretty cold blooded of ainge. also win him exec of the year.

  85. Also, according to Mike Brown and World Peace himself, MWP reported to camp fairly out of shape. That just adds to the fun.

  86. The deal is not dead, that’s the message the NBA office trying to spin sort of saving face of their Commish. What makes it shallow is that they treat fans in LA as plain stupid with all of their excuses that 1) the move was decided entirely by NBA; 2) that they prefer younger players than Scola, Odom and Martin; 3) that they can continue negotiations or attract offers. I believe the best solution for the “dictator” is just to keep quiet and stop insulting basketball fans with alibis. As an oldtimer who witnessed the development of NBA to its inception when blacks were not allowed to play because of the nature of that time, when players go around the city/town advertising their games when Harlem Globetrotters popularized basketball throughout the world, it was the Celtics broke that race barriers by admitting the Russell, Jones and other teams followed from Wilt to Kareem, then it unified the ABA and NBA into one.

    Fast forward to the 21st Century, it is enough to have a Commish with dictatorial powers to nullify the trade but please, please do not spin the blunder to make it appear that David is really a Santa. After the veto, he’s Santa Fox in sheep’s clothing with quirky grin.

    Stop the lies and go straight to the point – admit that the NBA league is afraid to any kind of transaction that will improve the Lakers. Lakers dynastic victories seemed to be a threat to Stern’s dominion of the small markets. The Commissioner is afraid to be dethroned with limited power left. As such his aides keeps on embellishing what already transpired by using flimsy excuses, twisting facts. He already spoiled the dream, now justifying why he spoiled it.

  87. The most ridiculous thing about Gilbert’s letter is that he’s not mad coz the trade hurts the Hornets, it’s coz it will prevent the Lakers’ salaries from going over the cap so he can’t get the luxury tax falloff. He really is a bottom-feeder.

  88. Story to come on SI.com, but Orlando CEO Alex Martins disputes the claim of Dwight Howard’s agent that permission was given to talk to teams

  89. Why on earth is a S&T for David West for Jermaine O’Neal even being discussed?

    The Hornets were directed to get young players and picks/shed salary, so they are discussing signing West just to trade him to Boston for O’Neals expiring contract?? First of all, he has nearly zero on the court value, and if they are doing it to shed salary, um newsflash, West isn’t even on New Orleans books! Sign West just to trade him for O’Neals last year? And have O’Neal backup Okafor? Or buy him out?

    It makes absolutely no sense.

  90. 91,

    They’re saying other players are involved (coming from beantown). I’m guessing Green is included in the trade, or maybe Bradley. There better be picks included, otherwise the NBA office just made itself look even worse.

  91. While I completely understand being hurt after your team tried to trade you, I really like Scola’s attitude about this:

    “They had a trade that they believed was good for the team, and they tried to do it,” Scola said. “That’s nothing to blame them for. And I’m happy to stay here.”

    Kevin Martin was more upset. I just hope this gets resolved soon, or this will hang over the team.

  92. Oh man, I have just spent like over four hours reading this and previous threads (where I left off last night), and linked articles. You all have interesting views and ideas, great stuff indeed. It is too bad about LO showing up late and leaving early. Yeah, he is decimated by this, almost trade. I do not blame him, he gave the Lakers everything he had last year and earned 6th man of the year award. The Bill Simmons article was great, being the Laker hater he is, saying the whole situation was wrong, and five teams were hurt by Stern’s decision, and they were, btw. Yes, that trade of West for Jermaine O’Neal’s corpse, is the last straw of bad disheartening information I can take in tonight, just unbelievable, huh? Well, as Warren says, this is a ruined bunch. I can not wait for Christmas to arrive though, and watch some basketball after all.

  93. I have a bad feeling about what is coming down in the next few days,whether we get Paul in a restructured deal or not. Large tax payments in future years ,and a weaker team than we had on Dec 7th. Too many things are out of Laker control. Hope I`m proven wrong about this.

  94. I love being a Lakers fan ….

    ESPNChrisPalmer chris palmer
    RT @ESPNSteinLine: ESPN sources: Hornets/Lakers/Rockets cautiously optimistic they’ll have reworked CP3 trade to present as soon as Saturday
    ESPNSteinLine Marc Stein
    RT @sam_amick: Orlando PR man Joel Glass calls to say D. Howard’s agent now has permission to speak w/Lakers/Nets/Mavs about possible trade

  95. D12′s agent has reiterated publicly that he can speak to teams on Howard’s behalf.

    Reports are that the three teams are New Jersey, the Lakers and…Dallas.

    If true, classic.

  96. ……. MONEY ……………

    The best things in life are free but you can give it to the birds and bees. David Stern is the best commissioner in pro sports. I will prove it to you. He moves the center in perfect situations. Instead of thinking he took 100 bucks from your pocket he only takes 10 and you think him for it.

    After telling all NBA teams last year that the Hornets managment would be left to independently go about basketball affairs without any molestation from the league David Stern just played GM in a giant blockbuster NBA trade and everyone will say he came to his senses. In actuality he used perfect mis direction. This entire sharada was to set the NBA up to make the most money when they sell this franchise and set up the NBA TV ratings while appeasing the small market owners. Want to know why Gilbert contradicted himself in that email? It’s because he didn’t. Those small market owners need something. To win or to at least make money off those giant checks Jerry Buss writes to the league in the form of luxury taxes.

    David Stern will now look like he made everything right but he just negotiated an NBA trade. People will say so what… It’s just some different pieces… It’s not different teams. Obviously this is rediculous as half of the trade is what teams are involved while the other half is what players are involved. Who knows what the league was instructing the Hornets to do before the trade was inittially executed? Did they decide for the Hornets to deal with the Lakers? We already know they are capable of deceit at least two times.

    The NBA just lost all credibility and David Stern has come to his senses. The man is a god. We walk away from this with incredibly world wide publicity, the Hornets increasing in value to their maximum potential, and possibly Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul on the Los Angeles Lakers. Not a bad days work for the world worst commissioner.

    Aaron

  97. I can’t decide who I want to go away more: Stern or Aaron.

    Sad, expected news about the Greg Oden setback. I wish him the best and hope he finds success on the court and, more importantly, happiness off it.

  98. FB&G poll question: is Aaron more the Sun Tzu or the Niccolo Machievelli of FB&G?

  99. To be clear: this was David’s Stern “Decision” moment. I think he completely underestimated the amount of backlash he was going to get for this move. He’s become out of touch with reality.

    100 – Neither. He’s David Stern’s illegitimate son. Think about it: 1) he makes about as much sense as Stern, 2) he thinks he’s more important than he is (no offense), 3) he loathes Fisher (the president of the players union fighting Stern for years). I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner.

  100. Haha. Sorry guys… I should have proof read that. Am a little intoxicated and wrote that from my iPhone.

    Darius!!!!!!!!! Just say it. Just admit it!!! The Lakers are probably going to get Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Kobe Bryant to step on the floor for the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Let it out!!!! It will feel so good. You can’t jinx it. We aren’t the lead spot on espn.com here.

    The Mavs have nothing to give and the Nets have almost nothing to give and they will be facing tampering charges. Hahahahaha. I mean it’s just nice to be a Laker. Let it out Darius!!!! Fess up. You know you think with the recent developments the Lakers have a good shot at landing the greatest three players to ever play together. Potentially. I should say that for legal purposes. Potentially on both fronts. Might be the best trio of all time. Just saying. You don’t have to admit that though.

  101. 100: “yes”

  102. Kurt had great foresight when he created commenting guideline #9:

    9). Don’t drink and comment.

  103. Snoop… Who said I drank? And Kurt is god here. Anyone notice is that. He is like Jesus around here. At least he is to me anyways. Almost exactly like Jesus actually. Except he is real of course.

  104. while i don’t agree with aaron that stern ‘planned’ this, just the fact that we’re the lakers allows him to spin it such way afterwards.

    where the league would be without the Lakers, i have no idea.

    they really should give buss more credit… and buss should really contemplate getting some of the bigger market teams together to split from the NBA if push comes to shove.

  105. And don’t think for a second even if the Nets are allowed to trade for Howard… Don’t think for a second the Maigic would rather have Lopez over Andrew Bynum. Don’t think for a second that would ever happen. You don’t think the Magic were watching at the end of last season when Andrew Bynum outplayed Dwight Howard on national television at Staples? Name the last time Dwight Howard was really outplayed by a Center one on one? It might have been his rookie year. All of Howards stats that game were against other defenders when Bynum was off the floor. Do you think they forgot how effortlessly Bynum swatted away Dwight’s shots? How often do you think that happens to ad wight Howard. Want to know why we don’t think Dwight Howard is as good as every other fan base in the NBA? Its because we see him play against Andrew Bynum. And the scary thing is Bynum was coming off a knee injury where he missed the offseason and a giant portion of the regular season. Imagine what he does as a healthy adult for the first time in s nba career? The Magic know. And Dan Gilbert knows. Why do you think he included that part about the Lakers getting Howard if the Lakers had draft choices? He knows the Lakers have a better offer than the Nets.

  106. ESPNChrisPalmer chris palmer
    Team source just confirmed to me Howard’s agent was given permission to talk to Lakers, Mavs, Nets. Permission was given earlier tonight.
    about an hour ago

    ___________________

    I believe Chandler leaving gives Dallas a big TPE.

  107. No offense to anyone, but this blog, while filled with posters and commenters of free mind and spirit (me) has been the best-quality Laker blog for a reason.

    Kurt started the whole thing and Darius is doing a fine job.

    But it would greatly benefit the blog/community if we treated each other and talked like grownups… not like 12 yos with internet. That stuff happens, and when it does we can all man up and admit it as we correct it.

    However, I also propose Rule #11 aka the 11th commandment: like the NBA we should have an age limit to the commenters of this blog. We use maturity in determining the age btw coz I am sure there is one not so many posts ago that act worse than my 12yo nephew.

  108. And back to the Lakers…

    I think if we break down Dan Gilbert’s joke of a letter is that he mentioned about:
    a) the Lakers’ payroll being cut in the process of getting a top player.
    b) no picks involved in the deal.

    I am in no way trying to satisfy the “little men” of this league (DG and DS) but for arguments sake, there are a few options we can do:

    1. Take back salary in the deal. Chances are the guy we take back is a position of need or a talented guy we can use.

    2. Include a draft pick, maybe even the 3M annual limit.

    CP3 and Meka heading to LA, or, give the salary cut to NOH and Scola heads to LA.

    I also have a nominee for our mini MLE – cp3 or dwight or cp3 alone or no deal – his name is YI JIANLIAN.

  109. Also, the more I think about it, the addition of Emeka Okafor on the deal will allow us to be deep enough to actually work/function. Even if it costs an extra 1st rounder.

    Add Yi to function as a project backup big and sign someone like a Troy Murphy for minimum and you got yourself a very nice frontcourt. And the league’s best backcourt.

    CP3 / Blake / Fish / Morris
    Bryant / Goudelock
    Artest / Barnes / Ebanks / Walton
    Okafor / Murphy / Caracter
    Bynum / Yi

  110. Re Yi: Kobe would break his spirit the 2nd hour of practice. So no thanks.

  111. @ 108 that TPE would be large enough for them to take on Turkoglu’s deal without any other salary back, however they’ve got nothing to give Orlando that entices them to trade Howard to the Mavs IMO. They’re not trading Dirk, other than him the best asset they have is Roddy Boeboius (spelling, i know).

    As far as those talking about JO’s corpse to the Hornets, yes it makes absolutely no sense, but through items I’ve read and i’m too lazy to post them they’ll try to flip him again. It’s odd though how Mark Cuban flipped out midseason when they traded Marcus Thornton for Carl Landry and that increased the payroll of the Hornets, Jermaine O’Neal has a trade kicker in his contract and this actually does the same thing. Just odd stuff going on down there right now.

  112. new trade proposal has been reported as submitted to league orifices. keep an eye on broussard and stein @ twitter.

  113. The Lakers dodged a bullet in having that trade axed. They would have given up two front court studds–one of them that made the all star game, for a 6 footer point guard. They would have given two double double players and a huge chunk of their interior depth if that trade would have been consummated. They would have had to count on Andrew Bynum to re[place that production and with his injuries, he’s not that reliable to say the least.