Almost ten years ago, former NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed a three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. A few days later, Paul was exchanged at the Los Angeles Clippers against Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, and the unprotected choice of the Timberwolves in 2012.
The first potential trade would have paired NBA All-Star Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers backcourt. However, it would have taken a lot of moving pieces for it to be completed.
According to NBA.com, the players involved without any draft picks from the Lakers, Hornets, Rockets.
Los Angeles Lakers: Chris Paul
New Orleans Hornets: F Lamar Odom (from Lakers), SG Kevin Martin (from Rockets), PF Luis Scola (from Rockets), and PG Goran Dragic (from Rockets).
Houston Rockets: Pau Gasol (From Lakers)
Los Angeles Lakers controlling owner and president Jeanie Buss was recently on the All The Smoke podcast. During her appearance, Buss explained why the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade didn’t go through.
“I’ll tell you exactly what happened. If you remember, we were in a lockout. So, when there is a lockout, there is a moratorium on everything, meaning you can’t make trades, you can’t do anything. As we were making a deal with the union and then started to lift the lockout rules, all the representatives of the teams had to be in New York for the board of governors meeting to ratify the new CBA. So, as we are in this room, all of a sudden, there’s then a rumor going around the room about a trade. Well, at that time, the team was run by the league,” said Buss.
“So, there is no way that a trade could be happening if we are all in this room doing league business. Except for the general manager [Dell Demps] of the team [Hornets] felt he had the authority to trade. He felt that he could make a trade, and my dad [Dr. Buss] at that time, health’s was declining, and he didn’t make the trip to New York. I was representing the team, so I wasn’t responsible for trades. So, the trade was happening while everybody was in this room. So, teams felt how is that possible; we didn’t get a chance to make a trade for Chris Paul.”
She would continue by sharing that the league thought it wasn’t fair.
“So, they all attacked the league and said this unfair. We all didn’t get a chance to make a trade for Chris Paul. David Stern did not reject the trade as commissioner, he rejected the trade as governor of [Hornets]. [Dell Demps did not ask permission to make the trade]. It wasn’t the NBA trying to keep the Lakers from Chris Paul. David Stern had a responsibility to make sure it was a trade he would approve. ”
David would appear on the Brian Berger on the Sports Business Radio Road Show, and shared that he was an owner’s rep for the team. So, there was nothing to void.
“I’m going to correct your language: What ‘cancelation’? The GM [Dell Demps] was not authorized to make that trade,” Stern told Brian Berger on the Sports Business Radio Road Show. “And acting on behalf of owners, we decided not to make it. I was an owner rep. There was nothing to ‘void.’ It just never got made.”
A couple of years ago, Mavericks Governor Mark Cuban shared with me the trade the Lakers offered was not as appealing for New Orleans as the Clippers’ once the Lakers and Mavs struck a deal for Lamar Odom.