Hey, so remember when the NBA ran the Pelicans? That was fun, huh? Remember when they had Chris Paul, and the Lakers thought they had a weirdly complicated 4-team deal lined up for Chris Paul, only for it to be scuttled by David Stern’s front office, acting as the ownership of the team? That wasn’t weird at all, right?
Well, David Stern remembers, and he finally spoke about the apparent deal machinations.
Breakdown via Complex:
During a recent appearance on the Nunyo & Company podcast, Stern finally explained the “basketball reasons” that caused him to nix the Chris Paul trade and triggered NBA conspiracy theorists to break out their tin foil hats.
“In the course of the weekend, we thought we could redo the deal,” Stern said. “We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with [Kyle] Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick. Not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time.”
That is…uh…a questionable version of history, from a man who has never been afraid to bend the truth. The idea that the nearly open revolt from other owners, led by Dan Gilbert (because of course it was), wasn’t even worth mentioning is kind of laughable. It’s also a nice attempt to pin all the potential blowback on former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak,
Stern was undoubtedly put in a difficult position back then, and in the end the deal that was made set up the Clippers renaissance. (Which may have directly influenced the purchase price that eventually made Donald Sterling even more obscenely wealthy once he was forced to sell the team in the wake of that “obscenely” part coming out.)
David Stern has so far managed to keep his legacy mostly intact, no small feat considering the various avoidable near-catastrophes that occurred on his watch. He’s either misremembering or willfully ignoring some of the facts here, though, and as with many Stern problems, that speaks to his apparently inherent assumption that we’re all dumber than he is.
Good to see David hasn’t changed in retirement.