David Stern Blocking Chris Paul Trade Is the Lowest Point in Stern’s Tenure

On December 8th, 2011, the NBA hit rock bottom.

Commissioner David Stern blocked a three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. Stern released an official statement on the decision:

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.

The fact that a commissioner can step in and nix a trade is alarming. Stern should have held his ground when confronted with various owners claiming the trade was unfair. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban summed up the collective frustration of NBA owners nicely:

We just had a lockout, and one of the goals of the lockout was to say that small-market teams now have a chance to keep their players, and the rules were designed to give them that opportunity.

The fear of smaller market teams not being able to keep players is irrational. Small-market teams will keep players if they build around them correctly. LeBron James wouldn't have left Cleveland if management had surrounded him with talent. It's the same reason Paul wants out. Dwight Howard wants out if Orlando management can't build around him properly.

It's hard to fault players for horrendous management. The disparity between small- and large-market teams is simply management.

Paul didn’t want to go to L.A. for the market, he wanted to go there to be a Laker. Benefits there include being part of a historic franchise, following in the footsteps of the legends who have played there, seeing Jack Ni...

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