What David Stern and the league did was WRONG. To nix a perfectly legal deal like that was absolutely, knee-jerk wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
But while national writers and tweeters everywhere are exploding with righteous indignation, I can't help but laugh.
Given the timing and parameters and certain repercussions, how could anyone expect a different outcome?
David Stern couldn't stomach watching competitive imbalance continue to play out ON THE VERY SAME DAY a brand, spanking new CBA was approved. A CBA that was supposed to help the small market teams stay relevant and the overpaying, monopolistic teams to stop acquiring replacement superstars whenever their incumbents started fading.
I mean, come on Chris Paul. You had to pick the ONE team that was symbolic of the competitive imbalance argument, the ONE team that throughout NBA history had seamlessly transitioned from one set of superstars to another (winning 5 championships in the last 11 years alone!), the ONE team that paid gobs of luxury taxes year over year and yet STILL found ways to acquire new superstars at the drop of a hat.
Talk about shoving it in the owners' faces.
Can you imagine David Stern's shock? Imagine the juxtaposition of winning the negotiation game by 40 points, only to watch Chris Paul and Dwight Howard run down the court on the opening tip of the very next game to slam the ball into the hoop and strut their stuff in front of a slack-jawed bench of egotistical NBA owners?
And on the very day the new CBA was being approved, Stern was still the butt of endless jokes. As the Chris Paul trade was being twitter-leaked minute by minute, a parade of deriding comments spewed out - all variations of the same theme: "so much for competitive balance!"
Chris Paul, one of the best players on the planet and still only 26 years old, going to the LAKERS?!?!? To pair up with Kobe Bryant and, certainly within hours, Dwight Howard!?!?!? Three of the top 5 players in the entire game on the same team? And with plenty of trade exceptions to fill out the roster. So much for competitive balance. Chalk up that trio for most of the Finals appearances and half the championships during this 6-10 year CBA.
And let's not forget why the 7-month lockout happened in the first place - LeBron James. You've still got Wade/LeBron/Bosh in Miami. If you put Paul/Kobe/Howard on one team and Wade/LeBron/Bosh on another, why should the other 28 teams even suit up?
Let's make this apocalyptic trade scenario EVEN WORSE for the NBA.
Hey David, not only is this going to happen on the same day your CBA is ratified.
Not only is 90% of your league in the crapper because the same 2 teams will reach the Finals every year.
Not only will all the players and media be laughing at you for the next 6-10 years.
Not only will the value of your league-owned franchise dwindle to nothing without a ticket-selling star on the team.
But hey, come on over here. Yeah, stand over that toilet. We're going to make YOU flush your own CBA down the toilet! Ha HA!
YOU AND YOUR FELLOW OWNERS get to start the dominoes falling by approving the initial trade of Paul to LA from your own league-owned franchise. Once that trade is approved and complete, the apocalypse starts and nothing would stop it.
Talk about a perfect storm. In retrospect, there was no way this trade could happen as constructed. They gave the egomaniacs no choice but to veto the deal.
Maybe tomorrow. Or next week. Or if the receiving team is someone other than the Lakers.
In the meantime, I can't help but laugh at the audacity and ludicrity of the predicament the players/agents/front offices put the owners into on the very day their sparkling new "competitive balance" CBA was being approved.