Ex-NBA exec denies having hand in botched 2011 Chris Paul trade
Despite being one of the most notable figures in the NBA, former commissioner David Stern will always be linked to a blockbuster trade that he reportedly vetoed from materializing.
While he was still in charge of the league during the shortened 2011 lock-out season, a three-team deal among the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets was supposed to go down, with perennial All-Star Chris Paul going to the Lakers and Pau Gasol heading to Houston.
New Orleans would have received Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick, but speculations began circulating that the league’s highest executive barred it from happening.
Marking the fifth anniversary of the controversial would-be deal, Stern was asked to characterize his actions while guesting at the Sports Radio Road Show.
“I’m going to correct your language,” Stern said, dismissing the idea, according to a Sports Illustrated report. “What cancellation? The (Hornets) GM was not authorized to make that trade. And acting on behalf of our owners, we decided not to make it. I was an owner rep. There was nothing to void.”
To make matters even more complicated, the Hornets franchise was owned by the NBA at the time, after the team experienced financial troubles due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city.
The 74-year-old retired magistrate also shed light to reports of several owners who didn’t want the Lakers stacked with another superstar talent like Paul.
Among those not pleased was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert, who even emailed Stern to reject the deal.
“When you’re the commissioner and you have two teams that are ticked off at you, as in the Lakers and Houston, the GMs without wanting to be attributed, spend their time trashing you, the wrong impression can be granted,” Stern said. “It was one of the few times I decided to just go radio silent and let it play out, and I got killed.”
Paul would eventually play in Los Angeles, but not for the purple and gold, as he currently plays for the Clippers.
“There was never a trade,” Stern stressed. “It was never approved by me as the owner rep.” Khristian Ibarrola
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