A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Whoa! The Chris Paul trade block mess, and a way for the NBA to get out of it reputation intact

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Well the unofficial first day of NBA free agency was wild. Chris Paul was traded in a deal involving his namesake landing with the LA Lakers as I predicted (but I got the return wrong), Pau Gasol going to Houston and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and a 1st going to New Orleans. I’ll have my official take on it if it goes through (let’s just say I’m not excited about it from the Hornets end), but the big story is that it was blocked by the NBA. It sounds like partly from the other 29 owners who well, own the Hornets, and from David Stern himself acting out against stars bulldozing their way to the teams they want to play for. I’m much more concerned about the latter if it’s true. You just can’t set a precedent of singling out trades and blocking them for a reason like that. If you don’t want players to do this, put it in the CBA. Hold out the season until the players cave enough to get the rules you want. Whatever. But don’t just come out and start blocking trades. The Lakers gave up serious value for Paul, it can be argued the Hornets direction is middling and short sighted, but that’s not a reason to block it.

Anyways, the other part about that blocked trade is the Hornets took on a ton of salary, taking in about 31 million and sending out just Paul’s 16.3. In addition Martin and Scola are owed about 40 million combined long term after next season. This is a strange move for a franchise desperately looking for someone to buy them – and considering the other 29 teams in the league will now be billed for the Hornets extra expenditures. If you’re looking for a tangible reason for why this trade was blocked – if say, it ever came to a lawsuit – that’d be one. The owners not signing off on the extra salary they’d be booked for. I suspect that’s not why it was blocked, but it’s something to sit on.

If the NBA really wants to get out of this without a disastrous hit to its integrity and reputation, they’ll pass the deal tonight with a change like this:

The LA Lakers get:
Chris Paul

Trevor Ariza


The Houston Rockets get:
Pau Gasol


The New Orleans Hornets get:
Kevin Martin

Luis Scola

Goran Dragic

NY future 1st


This has all the same principles as the original deal, just without the Lamar Odom inclusion and the Hornets sending Trevor Ariza to LA instead. The big difference is that the Hornets take on only about 1 million extra salary in 2011-2012 compared to 16 in the original deal (and that’s irrelevant since this will put them under the salary floor, meaning they’ll have to spend more), and will only add about 25 million in long term salary between Martin, Scola and Dragic’s post 2012 expenditures – and again, because of the salary floor that’s money that likely would’ve been had to be spent.

Anyways, this new deal is a nice balance between “We can’t just pass the original deal” and “There is a tangible enough difference in salary here to justify the change”. The NBA can move past this black mark before it becomes really black. Sounds good to me.

Written by jr.

December 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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