Yesterday, the NBA announced that its new10-year collective bargaining agreement was ratified by its Board of Governors. The league (entering its 66th year) and will begin its 66-game season on Christmas Day.
At the same time as the announcement, the basketball world was buzzing over the three-team trade deal that would have sent NBA All-Star Chris Paul ($16,359,805 million) to the Los Angeles Lakers.
(Lakers: G Chris Paul; Rockets: F/C Pau Gasol; Hornets: F Lamar Odom, F Luis Scola, G Kevin Martin, G Goran Dragic)
Last week, Paul notified Hornets General Manager, Dell Demps, that he was not interested in signing a long-term extension with the team.
What’s a GM to do?
Find a new home for your young superstar and get quality players in return. Endure a long season with an unhappy star, disrupt the continuity of your team, and probably have no choice but to trade your star anyway (i.e. Denver Nuggets and Carmelo Anthony). Or hope that your star will have second thoughts, but at the same time run the risk of losing everything during free agency (i.e. Cleveland and “The Decision”).
The Hornets front office chose to trade Paul before the start of training camp, because they know what’s coming; and by all accounts this would have been a good deal for the Hornets.
Except of one tiny detail, the NBA owns the Hornets and declined the trade.
The NBA purchased the team last December from founder George Shinn who sold due to heavy debt and wasn’t able to secure a local buyer for the team. Ironically, Shinn moved the team from its long-time home in Charlotte (founded in 1988) to New Orleans in 2002. At the time of the sale last year, the league valued the franchise at over $300 million with hopes to keep the team in New Orleans.
What happened to the trade deal?
Last night, there was speculation that other NBA owners were upset by the trade that would have put two of the top NBA superstars, Paul and Kobe Bryant, together. Although, the league issued a statement that the owners didn’t kill the deal and the trade was declined for “basketball reasons.”
Ultimately, trading Paul could have done a few things: (1) devalued the franchise because we all know that losing a franchise player has that effect; (2) impact the league’s ability to get a proper return on its invest; (3) anger the 10,000 plus season ticket holders who bought ticket not only to cheer for a team that includes Paul, but also as a commitment to keep the franchise in the Big Easy –Yes, a public relations nightmare.
While Paul probably won’t be a Hornet after this season, the league made the right move by not letting him go. In post-Katrina New Orleans there are too many economic, public relations, marketing and basketball reasons to keep Paul at “the point” another season.
Now that the season ticket mark was surpassed and a new CBA is in place, hopefully the league can find the right Bayou buyer and sell the Hornets.
Who knew that one trade could mean so much?
Good Night Sports Fans,