David Stern was absolutely correct in vetoing the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade.
Wait! Before you click the X in the upper right hand corner of this browser, or libel me a lackey for the NBA/Stern, at least finish this column before doing so.
The move was not unprecedented in professional sports, as the MLB rejected the Rangers/Red Sox deal involving Alex Rodriguez back in 2003.
The New Orleans Hornets are owned by the NBA, and its respective owners, and it serves their best interests if the entire free-agency process plays itself out. A player earns the right to sign with any team that he chooses, provided that they have the salary cap space and/or are prepared to pay the luxury tax in order to sign said player.
No one is trying to deny the player this basic right.
The problem, which came to a head last season when Carmelo Anthony demanded to be traded as long as it was to the New York Knicks, which lessened the bargaining leverage of his former team, the Denver Nuggets. Sure, in the end, the Nuggets received a very nice compliment of players, but usually the team that receives the superstar player, wins the trade.
Why this practice must be stopped, is because eventually, it will create even more of a league imbalance (the Celtics, Lakers, Bulls and Spurs have won a combined 43 of the previous 65 NBA titles) and teams that operate in smaller markets will become the Washington Generals even more so.
Sure, Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban comes across as petulant and whiny when he allegedly spearheaded the block of this trade because it would strengthen the chief rival of his Mavericks in the Western Conference, the Lakers. I won’t even touch the leaked e-mail of Cleveland Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert.
But I do feel for Gilbert. What, is debatable.
The salary cap was implemented to create a level playing field. What a trade like this does is allow players to dictate where they go, PRIOR to actually becoming, well. Free.
No one is attempting to deny them the right to play where they want to choose, but the team that benefits from their immense talents, should have to have made more prudent financial decisions, in order to have the available salary cap space to be able to afford the player. OR, they should be forced to pay the luxury tax for going over the salary cap. Some of this “tax” goes into funding the revenue sharing pot that benefits the smaller market teams, which in turn SHOULD help them compete.
Why should the so-called, “destination” teams escape this responsibility?
In this man’s humble opinion, they should not.
A league is only as strong as its weakest teams, and if some of them go away, it ceases to be a league. If the “other” teams all fold, we will soon have an NBA of major market teams only, which in turn is fewer jobs for the players union, and many cities without a professional team in a sport that they love.
I mean, what is this, NBA circa 1947 when there were only 11 teams?
Who wants that?
Not this man!