OKC Loud Links: Free Agency Commences; Should Have Been a Fun Day

If you're making your way to this post now, you're already fully aware of what happened. For years the NBA has fought against the public perception that the league is rigged, that David Stern is pulling the strings to make the show happen. In one fell swoop, the Commissioner brought those skeptics' perceptions to fruition. He undermined the very fabric of the game itself. I disliked the Chris Paul deal because I dislike the Lakers, but it occurred within the rules and so it made sense. However, with this executive decision, Stern broke the fourth wall and now nobody is sure what we're watching anymore.

David Stern's Statement | NewsOK

"Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the Commissioner's Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling. All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade."

That answer is not good enough. Why? Because of the final sentence - the only way the Hornets are best served with Paul in a Hornets uniform is if Paul STAYS in a Hornets uniform after this season. Otherwise, the league has wrecked the Hornets going forward because the team will receive nothing in return when Paul leaves.

What other reason would the league have to force Paul to stay? There is one - he is the face of the franchise, and given that the league is trying to sell the Hornets, he keeps their franchise value high. This is the reality of the business. However, as valid as this reason may be, it is NOT a "basketball reason."

Day 6: When Paul Let Us Know Stern Has Stayed Too Long | Grantland

I can't explain it any better than Simmons does here.

Stern Kills Lakers Deal for Paul | Yahoo! Sports

Woj gets some emotional quotes here:

"To me, this makes the league feel like it's rigged, that Stern just does whatever Stern wants to do. He's messed up the competitive balance of this league a lot worse by killing the deal, because you've completely destroyed the planning that New Orleans, Houston did and left them in shambles over this. I've never been so discouraged about this league, never so down."

League Was Put in a Tough Situation Re: Paul | NBA.com

Powell tries to examine the situation from the league's side, and he nails it, writing that the failure the league caused was in not selling the franchise sooner.

Teams to Appeal Trade | CBS Sports

The lockout was a messy affair. This situation is about to be.

Dan Gilbert Calls Deal "Travesty" in Email | Cleveland.com

Dan Gilbert needs a better press agent.

Magic Considering Filing Tampering Charges | NBA.com

The team believes two team illegally contacted Dwight Howard before they were allowed to.

NBA Players React | SB Nation

Well played, Stephen Curry.

Danny Granger Shares His Opinion | CBS Sports

Danny Granger is one of the more squeaky clean players in the league. Despite his comment, no, I don't think he was kidding.

And Starting at Small Forward for Indiana... | 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Naturally.

NBA Sets a Dangerous Precedent | ESPN

This step that Stern has taken pushes the NBA closer to the most unpleasant thing about the NFL - Commissioner Roger Goodell's unilateral power to exercise justice at a whim.

More links after the jump.

The Chris Paul Fiasco | Basketball Prospectus

One additional thing noted here re: Gilbert - he was complaining that he wouldn't get a cut of the Lakers' luxury tax. This man could not be any more petty.

Parity at What Cost? | Grantland

Kang hits on the theme that the league cannot seem to admit - they are not what they think they are.

Cuban Was Against CP3 Trade | CBS Sports

I accept Mark Cuban's reasoning, save for the fact that he argues that one of the reasons why they had a lockout was so that small market teams could keep their stars. This ignores the fact that Chris Paul was leaving at the end of the season, and everybody knew it.

Oden Gets One More Year in Portland | Ball Don't Lie

As much as Greg Oden needs a change of scenery, it's hard to pass up that much money.

Because the Owners are Beacons of Benevolence | HoopSpeak

Well done.

Players, Owners Approve CBA | CBS Sports

At least this is out of the way.

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