Chris Paul Nixed Trade Looks Bad for the NBA

Chris Paul Nixed Trade Looks Bad for the NBA
Chris Paul waits to determine his ultimate fate.

The NBA in 2011 has resembled a soap opera. First, the NBA Lockout once represented "nuclear winter" as both the NBA Players Union and NBA owners played a game of chicken until a surprise end during thanksgiving weekend. Now this. Sources alleged New Orleans Hornets All Star point guard Chris Paul was being shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers to play along side Kobe Bryant. Owners complained. The NBA, which owns the Hornets advised itself (supposedly management is wholly separate...NOT) to nix the trade. Something smells very foul here.

There is no way a league should own one of its teams. It smacks of collusion and invites the league to be opened to all sorts of anti trust suits should the proper occasion arise. Many sports leagues have advanced the argument they are a collection of independently owned and operated franchises as a single entity. The same way MLB could not make a statement it is a collection of independently owned and operated teams when the league own the Montreal Expos before the team was sold and moved to Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately,  Chris Paul is not suing the league any time soon to enforce his right to play any where he wants.

Exavier B. Pope, Esq. is an entertainment and sports attorney and legal blogger for Chicago Now. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.

(c) 2011, Exavier Pope

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  • The Expos deal turned out to be basically a shakedown--after contraction was nixed, the other owners were basically trying to "get the best deal," i.e. get tax money from D.C. While the Montreal organization was broke, there was no indication that MLB needed a subsidy to do business elsewhere. Not much different than the White Sox and Seattle using St. Petersburg to shake down their own cities. But at least the Expos were eventually sold.

    I assume that the players' association reconstituting puts back the antitrust exemption for labor matters, which this has become. The only real question is whether the owners intend to sell the Hornets. I'm sure that the players would be less thrilled if they actually decided to put the Hornets (and I suppose the Bobcats--just trying to think where the two teams are shows how unsuccessful they have been) into bankruptcy liquidation. Then you get the legal question of who is the other party to those contracts, and Paul will have a bigger problem than that he can't play with Kobe.

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