Now what was the point of the NBA lockout? I figured that the players wanted a bigger piece of the money pie and the owners didn't want to give that up. The usual billionaires vs. millionaires war of words. But now after the lockout has been lifted and the season set to begin on Christmas day, I believe there were different reasons for the owners.
The players and owners want what's best for them. I get that. My only problem with it is that there is too much money involved to not come to a reasonable agreement. NBA commissioner David Stern saw that he had to make a deal. The players union wasn't going to budge on their stance and neither were the owners. He got the owners to relax their stance and the players saw a change in their attitude. Thus a deal was made. At least that's what it looked like to most of us.
However, with the recent fiasco caused by Mr. Stern himself in the Chris Paul trade proposal. I now believe in my opinion that he went about ending the lockout a different way. My thinking is that he knew that the majority of the owners, the ones who owned 'small market' teams didn't want a season at all. Those owners didn't want to see a monopoly in the NBA where star players could dictate where they could go. So David Stern made a promise to them that he wouldn't let that happen anyway that he could.
How else can you determine why he vetoed the trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Houston Rockets and Lamar Odom, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin to the New Orleans Hornets? That is to me one of the fairest trades I've ever seen in any sport. Each team gets an All-Star player and in the case of the Hornets, they received three.
The initial reasoning behind the trade getting rejected was for 'basketball reasons.' What that means I don't know. But what I do know is that since the New Orleans Hornets were purchased by the NBA almost a year ago tells me that they want a new owner to buy them while Chris Paul is still there. But why would any potential owner want to buy the team knowing that Chris Paul is going to leave after the season as a free agent? It's better to get something for that player now rather than wait until the last minute ala the Denver Nuggets last year with Carmelo Anthony.
The bottom line here is this. In every sport there are 'small market' teams. But the success of those small market teams is entirely up to the front office. Just in the case of the NBA the following small market teams have made an appearance in the NBA Finals; San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic. And the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder have been involved in the playoffs on a consistent basis.
By my count that's 10 'small market' teams. One third of the entire league. David Stern no matter his reason(s) for vetoing the trade has set a very dangerous precedent. Those who have said that the NBA is always looking to prop up the big market teams in some sort of conspiracy now might have some credibility. Except it's the exact opposite in this case. He might have had the best intentions in keeping Chris Paul in New Orleans, but he better keep him there for good now. Forget about seeing Chris Paul as a New York Knick or a Los Angeles Clipper. Those are big markets.
Now the Los Angeles Lakers have dealt a disgruntled Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. The Houston Rockets are still looking for someone to replace Yao Ming. And the New Orleans Hornets, specifically general manager Dell Demps wonder if they can even operate under normal circumstances. There is no way around this one. David Stern screwed up.