This has gone on long enough. Two times the New Orleans Hornets have tried to trade Chris Paul, and both times the NBA has prevented the trade from occurring.
So what gives? The original trade involving the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers. The Hornets would have gotten Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, and two draft picks. Houston would have ended up with Pau Gasol. Reasonable, right? Well in the end, that’s up for debate, but David Stern and the NBA didn’t think that was enough for the Hornets to let go of Paul.
Fast forward a few days, and the Los Angeles Clippers are looking to make a deal for CP3. The Clippers were willing to give up the Timberwolves’ unprotected first round pick (let’s be honest, thats a high lottery pick), Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Eric Bledsoe. Again, not so bad. Decent center for the departed David West, and two up and coming prospects, in addition to what will likely be a high first round draft pick, all for an all-star point guard who will be unlikely to resign with the team when his contract expires at the end of this season.
In the end, the NBA has the right to veto any of these trades. The NBA owns the Hornets, and so they can stop any trade in the same way that any owner can stop any GM. However, in this case, David Stern and the NBA seem to be highly misguided.
Clearly, the NBA has a goal of preserving as much value in the Hornets franchise as possible. This is the easiest way to flip the team to some super-mega-rich potential owner. However, the NBA is going about this in the wrong way. Chris Paul clearly does not want to be a part of the Hornets anymore. Thinking that keeping a disgruntled star in New Orleans will help preserve the value of the team is short sighted and detrimental to all people involved. Paul is pissed at the NBA. Does anyone really think he’s going to go out and give it his all this season? The NBA and David Stern look like blundering idiots in the way they have handled this issue since news of the Lakers trade first broke. Let’s not forget the fans of the Hornets who have to deal with the soap opera of a drama involving their team’s best player. If the NBA thinks anyone is more likely to sink major money into this team under this current situation is foolish.
An owner is much more likely to purchase a team that has a clear direction. Right now, the Hornets are floating in a Chris Paul-limbo that is bad for the franchise. If David Stern and the NBA were smart, they would let the Hornets trade Paul for the best available offer. The Clippers’ offer seems like a perfectly acceptable deal. Instead, the NBA wanted more for the Hornets, and in the process have probably scared off any other potential suitors for Paul.
Long story short, the Hornets need to be allowed to trade Chris Paul. Now. Get what you can out of a deal and move on. Rebuild around the pieces you can get. If they don’t do this, the Hornets are in for a tumoltuous seasons that will only scare potential buys away, while alienating one of the league’s best and most exciting players.