The Wrath Of David Stern, Dan Gilbert’s Pen, Chris Paul’s Journey & Everything In Between

12.09.11 6 years ago 40 Comments

Pic: NBA Offseason

“What a day. What a mothaf*ckin’ day.” – ‘Alonzo,’ “Training Day”

We’ll all remember December 8, 2011, as the day the NBA set the sports world and Twitter ablaze. Teams wheeled and dealed with some even making drastic improvements to their rosters, yet Chris Paul’s blockbuster trade to the Lakers was the most celebrated news of the day, as it should have been. Well, that was at least until David Stern cemented himself as the most hated non-pedophile in sports. Look, the last thing I want to do is become a prisoner of the moment, but the decision to 187 the Lakers-Hornets-Rockets swap is one of those moments in sports we’ll never forget.

Unprecedented? Yes. Historic? Even more so. Predictable? Yes, if you’re the Zen master, Phil Jackson, who called this very scenario happening in December 2010.

“Who’s going to trade who to whom? Who’s going to pull the button on trading player or when Chris [Paul] says he has to be traded? How’s that going to go? I don’t know. Somebody’s going to have to make a very nonjudgmental decision on that part that’s not going to irritate anybody else in this league … I don’t know how they’re going to do that.” [ESPN]

A move of this magnitude offsets the balance of power (if there ever was one) and places us right back where we were weeks ago. Thank God the new CBA is in place now because this is exactly the type of issue which had both sides threatening to vacate an entire season. What’s even more unsettling is that we’re heading into a regular season where we know the owners hate the players, the players hate the owners and fans are left sitting like kids in a bedroom listening to their parents argue. It’s all a shit-show of a situation during a critical period where the league needs to be focused on earning the trust and admiration of its fans back. A move like this is essentially taking three steps backwards where ending the lockout took you two steps forward.

Now whether the Lakers made a smart move by potentially giving up the best sixth man in the game and arguably the best power forward (definitely a top 15 player), to fix their decrepit point guard deficiencies is another issue altogether. There was still the black cloud of banking their entire front court future on the knees of Andrew Bynum – the lambskin condoms of NBA big men’s knees – and whether or not Dwight Howard even wanted to make a move to L.A.

None of that matters now because a letter written by – wait for it – one Dan Gilbert helped alter the course of the entire evening, and more than likely NBA history. Obtained by Yahoo! Sports, below is the manuscript Danny Boy allegedly penned to David Stern calling for the deal to be cancelled.


It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.

This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.

Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).

I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.

I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.

When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?

Please advise….

Dan G.

Unbelievable. Gilbert’s trying to protect the interest of his team and other franchises with similar backgrounds. And you know what, having players actually serve out their contracts isn’t a bad idea either. That’s essentially what the lockout boiled down to anyway – don’t let the Miami Heat part two happen. But when players demand trades, it’s considered immature. Yet, when they play out their deal and leave, it’s considered disloyal. I can understand the thin line, but on the same accord, “Dan G.” effectively helped set the Hornets back light years.

Let’s say Chris Paul stays in New Orleans for the 2011-2012 season. He’s likely to be unhappy and play far below what we’ve become accustomed to over the years. He walks at the end of the season and the exact same empty-handed scenario Cleveland was left with when LeBron exited town is the same thing the Hornets will have to deal with. The owners yell competitive balance, but where is it when New Orleans is at the bottom of the barrel when its time for the 2013 draft? All because we wanted to prove a point? The rich are always going to get richer. It’s not right, but it’s America and the way this league has been set up for well over a quarter century. A 51-49 BRI isn’t going to chance the fact we’ve had four fewer U.S. Presidents than franchises who have won NBA titles in the past 30 years.

Instead, New Orleans could have actually had the best showing in the entire three team deal. Yes, they lose their “superstar,” but being left with Jarrett Jack, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor isn’t exactly non-alcoholic beer we’re talking about here. They’re not winning the NBA title with that lineup, but that’s certainly a playoff worthy squad all things considered. And let’s not talk about how this fiasco has long lasting results with the Lakers roster. Odom and Pau Gasol now have to report to a camp where the entire world knows they weren’t wanted 24 hours before. One thing not to mess with in basketball is team chemistry. The Celtics still haven’t truly recovered from last February’s bitterly cold Kendrick Perkins trade. And now they’re forced to deal with Rondo’s mental state now following his trade rumors. As physically tuned as these men are, there’s a tendency to forget egos are the finest form of delicacy in sports. When will ever learn this concept?

However, here we are right back to square one. What happens next? I honestly couldn’t point you in the right direction. David Stern got what he wanted. The lockout ended and everyone’s talking about his NBA once more. The openers on Christmas Day were creating buzz due to their seamless combination of talent and pure starvation for basketball from the fans. Now, right when it appears to put the past 150+ days of failed negotiations fall behind us, we’re reminded one thing. Makeup only temporarily fixes issues. Who you are and whatever scars you harbor underneath, that being said, will always manifest themselves over time.

Ladies and gentlemen, your NBA.

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