Archive for the ‘New Orleans Hornets’ Category

When somebody writes the definitive David Stern biography, I’ll pre-order it and devote a weekend to reading it cover-to-cover. It would be the fitting response to a book devoted to a man who was commissioner of the greatest professional association of the greatest sport on this planet for more than a quarter-century. It’s not giving him enough credit to say “he rules with an iron fist” — that’s how Roger Goodell runs the NFL and while that works for him, that league has virtually unlimited leeway with its customers because the NFL is as much an ethos as it is a sport. The reason why Stern has been such an enduring success in his job is that he’s not only more stronger-willed than everyone he takes on, he’s also smarter, more experienced, quicker-witted, and… and here’s what I think almost everyone fails to understand about him… he also loves the NBA as much as anyone on the planet.

From what I’ve been able to glean, Stern hasn’t been particularly forthcoming about how he feels about being put in charge of the New Orleans Hornets while the league seeks the ideal billionaire to purchase the team. Did he relish the outrage he provoked when he vetoed the three-way trade that would have made Chris Paul a Laker? Hard to say, but he has to feel pretty smug now that he’s managed to improve on the Hornets’ return from the original package that would have netted Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and the Knicks’ 2012 first round pick. That wasn’t a horrible deal by any measure, but most of those players are probably at or past their peaks with contracts that are not exactly conducive to selling a struggling franchise.

Today’s deal netted the Hornets a probable future All-Star in shooting guard Eric Gordon — who is still on his rookie contract and will turn 23 years old later this month — along with Chris Kaman’s $12.7 million expiring contract, athletic sophomore Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Timberwolves’ unprotected first-round pick in what promises to be a stacked 2012 draft class. In terms of young talent with upside, salary cap flexibility and maximizing the Hornets’ appeal for a potential buyer, I can’t imagine a trade that could have worked out for them better than this one.

With all of the boneheaded moves that NBA general managers have made during Stern’s 27 years as league commissioner, I have to wonder if he didn’t enjoy the unusual opportunity for him to show them how to really drive a hard bargain. I won’t name names, but I read a lot of NBA columnists and bloggers over the past week complain that Stern killed the best possible deal the Hornets could have negotiated. One particularly prominent NBA opinionist made a point of spinning a narrative that depicted Stern as a doddering old man who wasn’t equipped to deal with this new breed of new-money owners and me-first players.

If I’ve understood anything about David Stern during his regime, it was that he would never stick around beyond the point where he wasn’t still the smartest, most cold-blooded player in this game. Everyone is still reeling from this trade and its ramifications, but when all of you come to your senses, don’t even try to front that Stern didn’t make the best possible deal for the Hornets in the end.

If you can’t bring yourself to give the old man credit, distract yourself with dreams of Paul-to-Griffin alley-oops and move on to your next concocted outrage about how you deserve a discount on your League Pass or whatever. Through all your complaining, you’ll keep watching and opening your wallets unless you have much more willpower and much less passion for the NBA than I do. Improbably, this is shaping up to be an even more compelling season than the last one. And I predict that David Stern will walk away from his job with the league in better shape than it’s ever been in — whether or not you want to give him credit for that is irrelevant.

At this point, after at least three failed trades, it seems like there won’t ever be a Chris Paul trade that is good enough for the NBA. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how each of the league’s 30 teams can not have Chris Paul play for them this season.

Atlanta Hawks: Draft Marvin “Marvdawg” Williams in 2005.

Boston Celtics: Float the idea of a Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green trade — even though no one is totally convinced that Rondo can do what he does when not surrounded by Hall of Famers — thus ensuring Rondo will take things the wrong way, get angry about it and refuse to shoot for the entire season.

Charlotte Bobcats: Have Michael Jordan try to convince David Stern to take Boris Diaw and DJ Augustin for Chris Paul because Stern owes MJ one for all that “making the NBA awesome” in the 1990s.

Chicago Bulls: Continue to employ Derrick Rose as the team’s point guard.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Allow all the other teams to try to trade for Chris Paul, and when they do, write a hilarious email about it, thus ensuring he’d never want to come to your team anyway.

Dallas Mavericks: Don’t really even worry about it. Instead, trade for the players who get sad about being included in trade talks.

Denver Nuggets: Remember what happened last season and steer clear of the whole situation.

Detroit Pistons: Offer Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for Chris Paul and be totally shocked when the NBA says no. These guys were huge free agency signings just two summers ago, geez.

Golden State Warriors: Seem like you’re in the talks, but don’t really be in the talks. Downgrade from Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan to Kwame Brown.

Houston Rockets: Rather than trade for Paul, help facilitate the trade. Watch as the trade is blocked by the NBA.

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Yesterday was one of the craziest days in sports news I’ve ever experienced. First, it was Albert Pujols leaving the Cardinals to sign with the Angels, then it was the Chris Paul trade, and then the Chris Paul un-trade. I was told about the un-trade at theScore’s annual holiday party, and over the pounding music, I thought this was a veto in somebody’s fantasy league.

Nope, this actually happened in the National Basketball Association … and everybody is freaking the hell out about it.

Once I got over my initial confusion about what had transpired — commissioner David Stern stopped the trade because the league owns the Hornets and some owners reportedly called him to complain — it didn’t seem worthy of all this Twitter-fueled outrage. Doesn’t any owner of any sports team get the final say on every transaction the team makes? It just so happens that this team is co-owned by the other 29 NBA owners.

OK look, this situation is totally messed up. There’s no denying it. But if people are pissed off because they think Stern suddenly hates the Lakers or because he’s trying to prevent another “superteam,” they’re off the mark. Have we forgotten how great and successful last season was? Stern loves superteams! They’re great for business and generate a ton of fan interest. You can say a lot of things about Stern, but we all know he’s not dumb.

The problem here is that the league shouldn’t be controlling the Hornets in the first place. The reasons why the league blocked the Paul trade are irrelevant to me. If the league was unable or unwilling to find another owner to buy the Hornets from previous owner George Shinn — regardless of whether that new owner would keep the team in New Orleans — then they should have folded the team.

Of course, where Chris Paul would have ended up in the subsequent dispersion draft would have been a whole other box of snakes. If you don’t like that option, then after the league took over the Hornets, they should have mandated that the only transactions they were allowed to make were drafting players and signing players to minimum contracts. Neither of those are ideal solutions, but they’re both preferable to this sorry mess.

Where do we go from here? The players are angrier at Stern and the owners than they’ve ever been, many fans are more convinced than ever that the NBA is “rigged,” and poor Hornets GM Dell Demps just got his balls chopped off and held up for public display. It’s pretty frustrating for me to witness my favorite sports league embarrass itself like this. I guess we’ll all have to wait for Stern’s public statement about this in the hopes of making some kind of sense out of a situation that seems to defy any kind of logic about how a pro sports league is supposed to be run.

Last night, at 7:06pm ET, Chris Paul became the second-best point guard to have ever been a member of the Lakers. At 9:23pm, the trade was blocked and Chris Paul was headed back to the Hornets.

Let’s take a look back at those 137 minutes to find Chris Paul’s biggest and best highlights.

7:06pm — Chris Paul finds out about the trade. Smiles big-time.

7:08pm — Personal chef tells him that his butternut squash risotto is ready.

7:09pm — Paul begins first official meal as a Laker.

7:13pm — Paul finishes risotto, breaking his own personal record for arborio rice per minute (ARPM). Scouts are amazed with the way he controls the pace of the meal and makes sure that each grain of rice is properly distributed.

7:22pm — Kobe Bryant discovers that everything around his house is easier to do for some reason.

7:41pm — Paul records first triple-double as a Laker by eating two each of Twix, 100 Grand and Almond Joy.

7:43pm — Paul feels sick from all the celebratory candy.

7:48pm — Metta World Peace calls Chris Paul to get some help figuring out his wireless internet connection. Paul tells him to unplug and then replug his router, recording his first official assist as a Laker.

7:57pm — Grabs his new puppy, Hoopsy, and gets her outside before she has a chance to pee on the rug. Hoopsy goes potty in the grass and Paul notches his first win as a Laker.

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First it was a season guaranteed to be overshadowed by what he’s going to do in free agency. Now it’s beating a child at basketball. Chris Paul is becoming LeBron James before our very eyes.

(via Five-Star Basketball)

Based on his answers, it’s safe to assume you’ll never catch Chris Paul flashing his money or smelling bad. For a guy who’s made more than $40 million and plays a professional sport for a living, those are very real concerns. No wonder he’s so worried about keeping these things secret.

(via Eye On Basketball)

“New Orleans Hornets star Chris Paul and his family will play ‘Family Feud’ next week to benefit Paul’s CP3 Foundation. The episode is scheduled to air at 3 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 1) on WGNO. According to a news release, the Paul team applied and auditioned for the show, hosted by Steve Harvey, just as any family can.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune

(via SLAM)