LA Lakers Can Blame David Stern More Than Jim Buss for Their Demise

As tempting as it is to blame Jim Buss for the Los Angeles Lakers’ demise, the actual culprit is David Stern.

The franchise saw the writing on the wall during the 2011 winter, and made a move that sent chills to the rest of the league. Mitch Kupchak pulled the trigger on an epic trade with the then New Orleans Hornets.

The transaction had Chris Paul joining the Purple and Gold, while Lamar Odom was redirected to New Orleans and Pau Gasol went over to the Houston Rockets. The swap allowed the Lakers to start over without actually rebuilding.

Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times offered this observation of the Lakers: “The trade would have symbolized the Lakers' shift from finesse, precision and depth in the frontcourt to speed and athleticism in the backcourt.”

Indeed, the team had a nucleus of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Paul. That three-headed monster would have immediately restored the Lakers mystique and likely allowed the squad to sit atop the standings.

Sadly for the Los Angeles faithful, the NBA commissioner famously vetoed the trade for basketball reasons and forced Kupchak to look elsewhere to improve the roster. The league had purchased the Hornets because the previous owner could no longer cover the costs, which meant that Stern was its de facto owner.

In the aftermath of the rejected proposal, the Lakers eventually moved around some parts, and the result is the disaster the franchise is facing today.

Nonetheless, one can only wonder where the Lake Show would be had Stern allowed the transaction to pass.


What Could Have Been

In an alternate universe where David Stern allowed Chris Paul to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the team’s fortunes would have been vastly different. Paul’s addition initially causes a small alpha dog battle between he and Kobe Bryant.


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