You knew he wouldn't be cool with this. You knew he wouldn't be cool with this at all.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has solidified himself as a staunch hard-line owner since All-Star forward LeBron James bailed on his team and "take his talents" to the Miami Heat. Following James' decision, Gilbert penned a letter trashing his former star for his disloyalty, garnering national headlines.
The NBA's latest superstar-driven controversy erupted on Thursday, and Gilbert managed to carve out a starring role for himself in the theatre of the absurd. The New Orleans Hornets attempted to trade All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-team deal, only to have NBA commissioner David Stern veto the move according to CBSSports.com's Ken Berger. Stern was able to veto the move because the NBA bought the Hornets and Stern serves as the de facto owner and NBA spokesman Tim Frank said that the "league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons."
Yahoo Sports obtained a letter written by Gilbert to Stern on Thursday, decrying the potential trade as a "travesty" and requesting that the NBA's owners be allowed to vote on it. Gilbert criticized the deal because he believed it would provide the Lakers with the "best player" and significant financial relief.
Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.The Washington Generals, of course, are the always-beaten exhibition opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters. Essentially, Gilbert is saying, the NBA just spend the last five months in a lockout in an effort to improve competitive-balance. Watching the face of a small-market franchise bolt to one of the nation's largest cities and richest teams would undercut those efforts and the league shouldn't go along with it. He's entitled to his opinion, and certainly he's correct in stating that a vast majority of the league's owners would be unhappy watching Paul join Kobe Bryant in a ridiculously talented backcourt.
I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).
I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen. I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do. When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?
But NBA trades aren't made in the best interests of all. They should be made in the best interests of the individual owners involved, and Stern personally opened up this can of worms when he pushed for the NBA to buy back the Hornets. He's undercutting New Orleans' basketball decision-makers, he's throwing the futures of multiple players up into the air and he's handcuffing at least three teams -- and potentially more -- on the eve of the free agency period. It's total chaos and he owes the NBA, its teams and its players a full explanation of his decision-making process and what the plan is moving forward.