David Stern voided the big 3-team deal in the NBA last night involving the Lakers-Hornets-Rockets. Apparently the deal (negotiated by New Orleans GM Dell Demps) was not in the best interest of the Hornets… who agreed to the deal. The out cry was delivered to Stern by several pissed-off, sour-grape owners, led by Cavs cry-baby Dan Gilbert.
Forget the nonsense about Stern stepping in and calling off the trade. As ridiculous as this is, and how truly insane it is, let’s focus on the players and teams involved in the “trade.”
LAKERS - Chris Paul (from Hornets)
ROCKETS - Pau Gasol (from Lakers)
HORNETS - Lamar Odom (from Lakers); Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, and a draft pick (from Rockets)
First off, the Lakers get their man in CP3. A top tier point guard to team with Kobe, and potentially Dwight Howard. They also shed cap space and avoid the luxury tax (for now). But the fact that people are saying the Lakers gave up nothing to get him is ludicrous. In my opinion the Lakers gave up their 2nd and 3rd best players (Odom is better than Bynum. Fact.) They gave up their height advantage and rolled with a new concept, a quality point guard for Kobe.
So the Lakers gave up an All-Star (Gasol), almost All-Star (Odom) to get back All-Star (Paul)… who did miss half the 2009-2010 season with a knee injury…
The Rockets traded away a lot, but their master plan was to acquire Pau Gasol and then throw their newly available money at former Nuggets center Nene. Ok, they want Gasol and Nene (I’m not a big Nene fan, especially for the money he is going to get), but if that’s who Daryl Morey and the Rockets want, why can’t they do it? Exactly.
Lastly, the Hornets. People are saying they gave away the best player in the deal and didn’t even get the 2nd best player. On the surface, that is probably right. But to call what they got back “trash,” “garbage,” “Odom and crap,” etc. is simply wrong. You are not going to get equal value in a trade for a megastar. Hasn’t happened. (Examples below). The Hornets need to get something for a guy who is definitely going to bounce in 7 months.
They got (last year’s numbers in parenthesis).
Lamar Odom (14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3 assists)
Luis Scola (18.3 points, 8.2 rebounds)
Kevin Martin (23.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists)
Goran Dragic (7.5 points and shot 52% from 3 after trade from PHX)
Again, the Hornets trade their All-Star point guard for 3 bonafide NBA starters, a back-up point guard with some upside, and a pick. What else were they going to do? That’s a solid trade. They aren’t winning the title, but they’re gonna be competitive. Let’s see how that trade stacks up to some of the other Superstar deals of NBA past.
1992: 76ers trade Charles Barkley to the Suns for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, & Tim Perry
(I don’t need to tell you that Barkley then won the MVP with Phoenix and led them to the Finals)
2004: Lakers trade Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, a 1st & 2nd round pick
2007: T-Wolves trade Kevin Garnett to the Celtics for Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, and two 1st round picks
2008: Grizzlies trade Pau Gasol (and 2nd round pick) to Lakers for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, ammo, Marc Gasol (who no one knew would be this good), and two 1st round picks.
There are more. Those are just the ones that come to mind. You aren’t going to trade CP3 for Deron Williams or Derrick Rose. You also aren’t going to re-sign him after this season. The league just hurt the Hornets going forward. Maybe the team should not exist. If no one buys the team in the next few months, I say contract them. One less team would help the NBA.
There is still a chance this deal gets done (or one similar), let’s hope it does. The league looked bad during the lockout, but this is worse.
Rich Keefe is the Celtics Reporter for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston as well as a fill-in host. You can follow him on twitter @Keefe21.