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.
"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."
I can't explain it any better than Simmons does here.
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."
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.
The lockout was a messy affair. This situation is about to be.
Dan Gilbert needs a better press agent.
The team believes two team illegally contacted Dwight Howard before they were allowed to.
Well played, Stephen Curry.
Danny Granger is one of the more squeaky clean players in the league. Despite his comment, no, I don't think he was kidding.
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.
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.
Kang hits on the theme that the league cannot seem to admit - they are not what they think they are.
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.
As much as Greg Oden needs a change of scenery, it's hard to pass up that much money.
At least this is out of the way.