The NBA owners are apparently ticked off that David Stern would let the league-owned Hornets trade Chris Paul to the Lakers, so they’re trying to block it.
[UPDATE: The owners killed the trade. It's off.]
Yes, the league owning the Hornets is a conflict of interest. There’s no debate over that. Here’s the problem: What’s the point of the league blocking the trade when Chris Paul’s just going to leave after the season and the Hornets will get zero compensation?
As it stands right now, the Hornets are getting three potential starters (Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom and Luis Scola), and I think they’ll have a solid starting five next season (add point guard Jarrett Jack and center Emeka Okafor). How do we know that group won’t contend for the 7th or 8th playoff spot? How do we know GM Dell Demps won’t try to flip Martin, Scola or anyone else on the roster to a contender at the trade deadline? Do we even know what draft picks the Hornets are getting in the trade?
What would be much worse is not trading Paul and letting him walk in the offseason. Then you’re looking at a horrible roster – who is buying that team? – with little flexibility. And don’t play the “they’ll have cap room!” card – it is well established that free agents want to a) play with their friends or b) play in the city of of their choice, and New Orleans does not appear to be a marquee destination.