NBA Chaos and Chris Paul Trade Veto Reactions

I've contemplated bringing back the blog for a while now. The recent NBA developments have shown me that I have too many opinions to vent to too many different people, that it's easier to put it all on this forum. With that said, DishingDimes is back!

Has there ever been a situation like this in pro sports? Has there ever been a situation like thisat your work? School organization? Fantasy League? The answer is probably 'No'. This doesn't happen in legitimate organizations.

I'm going to quickly try and dissect 3 interesting issues that are in this Chris Paul situation.

1) Dan Gilbert leading a group of owners to lobby David Stern to veto the trade.

This has ruined David Stern's legacy. He let a group of owners tell him what to do, and when to do it. What trade can go through now? We've found out that the league can veto any trade they don't feel "makes basketball sense"? They lost their purpose and role in the league when they stepped in to buy the Hornets, and now they've showed why. From what we understand, the owners were upset that the Lakers were saving upwards of $57 million in cap space. Really? Is that what this comes down to? We just got out of a lockout where we touched up the system to discourage big spending (this should have been called the LA/Miami/NY/Dallas Clause), and the Lakers try to get their books in order only to be smashed by the league. This was a win-win for all parties involved, and a deal that would have spared the Hornets a Melo-Nuggets fate. What kind of partnership would ever crush their associates for saving money? The example I've been using with everyone I've talked to is if you bought a company-owned car, and your colleagues looked at you and said, "No, don't think you can do that. You're getting way too great of a deal!" That type of thing doesn't happen, and if it did, you'd probably be pretty close to having an Office Freakout.

Bottom line: The only way this gets resolved and the NBA can salvage any sense of reputation is to reverse this trade. If Dwight gets traded to the Nets later today, I think everyone will be raising an eyebrow.

2) The reality that players and teams involved will have to go through an incredibly awkward period.

This will undoubtedly effect play in an overwhelmingly negative way. Lamar's already tweeted that he doesn't feel comfortable coming to training camp. An unhappy team behind closed doors already looks out of sync on the court. I can't imagine what a publicly unhappy team will look like on a court. Did we already forget when the Hornets traded Chandler to the Thunder only to to be turned down by the OKC training staff, and sent back to the Hornets? Don't think anyone was comfortable with that.

This also sets an awful precedent for future players like Chris Paul. He went through this whole process with incredible class and respect to the Hornets and the city of New Orleans. If he dragged his team and city through the mud, would the outcome have been the same?

What about Dell Demps? Everyone thought he was at the helm of the Hornets, and he just got smacked in the face by the league. Undermining someone's position of power is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to someone, and it just happened very publicly. Not sure how he recovers from this without resigning and going elsewhere.

3) Still holding out hope that the league will respond appropriately.

I still have one ounce of hope that the league will come to their senses, and reverse their decisions before we go down a treacherous road. It doesn't even need to come with any explanation. The general consensus among basketball fans seems to be outrage that an administration would intervene to stop movement. It undermines business to an incredible extent, and with all of the backlash, I think the league might take a step back and change their stance. If you're an NBA fan, it's understandable that you take this as a slap in the face. Lets just hope that they'll give us some ice to heal from the wounds.

Good to be back,



Tom said...

I completely disagree Izzy, and while you're obviously making legitimate arguments, there's obviously no chance that your view of this situation isn't colored by your status as a Lakers fan.

Let me make something clear, if this trade (and maybe more importantly, a subsequent trade for Dwight Howard to LA) was pulled off, people like me would simply stop watching the NBA. I can't think of a worse place for these two players to end up - fantastic, everybody got to watch the Lakers compete for championship after championship with arguably the best player in the league (and at points arguably the two best players in the league) for about a decade, here's to another 5-10 more years!!

No.. that makes for boring basketball, and while Los Angeles would have been thrilled to watch the exact same championship match up for roughly a decade or so, the rest of us would have hated it.

I think you're right to question the league's compromise of its neutrality by purchasing the Hornets, but I'm not really sure what the other options were, maybe you could explain what went on (I don't know a fraction as much about NBA basketball as you do). But beyond that, as the owner of the Hornets and the arbiter of fairness in the league, the NBA obviously has an interest in shutting this trade down regardless of whether each individual team got a fair deal. I think most of the league would much rather see a Dwight Howard trade to NJ than to LA, and I think that as the owner of one of the teams involved here the league did the right thing. I totally disagree with you that this sets some massive precedent - it's narrowly confined to situations where the league can terminate trades involving teams that it has majority ownership of at its discretion - how often do you expect this scenario to come up in the future.

I also disagree that the purpose of the lockout resolution was to discourage "big spending," it was more generally to discourage single teams from being able to dominate their conference by collecting All-Stars (how is that not what's going on here? LA trades two aging players for a perennial All-Star and puts itself in a position to lock-up the best player in the NBA.. yeah that's great, it'll really make for a good competition in the West..)

I think this deal would have sucked, it would have led to mindless dominance of the Heat and Lakers in their respective conferences, and we'd all just be waiting to watch a glorified All-Star game at the end of the year. If that's what you're looking for, you might as well become a baseball fan (and at least baseball is a little more exciting, the underdog actually wins a series more than once in a blue moon - before Memphis last year, when was the last time an 8 seed upset a 1?).

Stewart said...

Tom. Before you call Izzy out for his perceived bias as a Laker fan, who do you root for? Because if you root for any of the smaller-market teams in the NBA, or even really anyone other than the Lakers, I'd throw your bias right back at you. By that, I mean I am.

Read Bill Simmons' article today if you want further explanation of why it's stupid to wish so fervently against the dominance of certain franchises. The NBA has certain historic franchise, and you are both factually and ethically incorrect in your assumption that fans of other teams are so against the dominance of teams like the Lakers, Celtics, etc. NBA TV ratings and attendance numbers have gone up in periods dominated by the pre-eminent franchises because the culture of the NBA is one in which the fans are engrossed by storylines involving the big players. It's that simple.

Beyond that, the outrage isn't about some pie-in-the-sky ["lame," "weak," insert adjective of choice here] idea about the little guy having a chance. This is about the usurpation of power in a league which is a BUSINESS (a useful analogy would be to think about the power relationship between a people and their government) in which there are certain areas of freedom which teams must be able to operate. Whether or not this is likely ever to happen again (as you pointed out the NBA only owns one team and plans that situation to be temporary) is TOTALLY irrelevant. The precedent IS terrifying, but even if it ends up a solitary event, that doesn't mean no harm has been done, it will simply mean no further harm was done in future. Furthermore, to suggest that this is somehow better for the league because, as per your basic argument, the Lakers don't deserve to have any more good things happen to them, is fucking bogus. I'm not even going to continue to address the question of the Lakers, but going to point out that four other teams stood to gain significantly, otherwise why would they have entered the deal. How can that be good for the collective?

Izzy you're 100% right. I'm not a Lakers fan per se, but I'm really rooting for you guys on this one. I hope they reverse this bullshit and send CP3 to LA.

Shawn said...

These are both two very valid comments. I'm not going to respond to everything that you said in your response, Tom because I think that Stew did a good job refuting the main points.

I'm outraged that the league stepped in and did this. They hired Dell Demps as a supposedly autonomous General Manager. All of a sudden, everything he works for is pulled from under him. He kept league officials abreast of all the happenings. Trust me...it was no secret that Chris Paul was being shopped. If it was so important to the league that CP3 stayed a Hornet, they should have not let Demps shop him around to being with!

So lets bring this home for you. The three teams who were hurt from this are obvious, but lets look deeper. The Celtics dangled Rajon Rondo in front of New Orleans, and now Rondo is livid that they would consider doing that. KG, from all reports, is equally as pissed. That further damaged the relationship the players have with management since the Kendrick Perkins deal back in February.

The Knicks...all of a sudden Chris Paul is back on the market, and maybe an attainable player next year during free agency. Well, too bad. They just spent all that money yesterday on Chandler because they thought that Chris Paul was being traded later that day.

The lockout took a long time for a lot of reasons including revenue splitting at first, and then the penalties for big spending teams. So, naturally, they revamped the system. They penalized big spending teams with a tiered system. That makes sense, right? So the Lakers saved a ton of money on this deal by getting rid of Lamar and Pau's contracts, and upgrading at Point Guard. How could you fault a team for doing that? They ratified that CBA, and Jerry Buss didn't complain, he just had the management staff adjust accordingly. IF SMALL MARKET OWNERS DONT LIKE IT *COUGH*DAN GILBERT*COUGH* THEN DONT RATIFY THE NEW DEAL! Gilbert had 8+ years to put a team around Lebron, and he didn't. Sorry bud. Lost your chance. Maybe you can try again with Kyrie Irving. Not our fault.

As a side note, the last time an 8 over 1 seed happened was in 2006 when the Warriors upset the Mavs 4-2.

Keep the convo going...

Tom said...

Stewart, I have several bones to pick with you:

1) Nobody is "calling Izzy out," he's a Lakers fan, plain and simple - it doesn't take a grand leap in logic, or an attack on his character, to suggest that his view on this issue might be colored by the fact that his team got denied.

2)I'm "ethically incorrect" about absolutely nothing, because (although it's admirable that you took the extra time to prove to us all that you have one extra multi-syllabic word in your repertoire) we're not having a conversation about ethics, and none of the participants in this conversation have made an ethics-based argument.

3) You are correct to some degree about the ratings, but you're over-stating your point. There has not been a period in the history of the NBA, or really any other sport for that matter, when the players have organized their own "super-teams" in free agency (or leading up to it). People like to watch All-Stars; people like to watch those All-Stars play on good teams because they like to root against them; BUT there isn't much evidence that people would prefer a league composed of two All-Star teams that blow out all of their opponents and have a ride to the championship guaranteed for a decade - that's just boring. You can't really point to the past and say that its some kind of validation of the present, because we've never really seen a situation like this one before. Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard can all individually carry teams - say what you want about the Bulls in the 90s, but Scotty Pippen never proved he could (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/pippesc01.html).

4) Your analogy between the NBA's relationship with teams and a government's relationship with its people is more useless than useful. BECAUSE IN THIS SITUATION THE NBA OWNS THE TEAM IN QUESTION AND GOVERNMENTS DO NOT OWN THEIR PEOPLE. As I made clear earlier, I think it's perfectly legitimate to make complaints about the conflict of interest that presents itself with NBA ownership over a team. Those arguments should have been made persuasively when the NBA took over the Hornets - at this point thought, you're too little too late. The NBA owns the franchise, as owner they can stop the trade for literally any reason under the sun, they don't have to justify it to the Lakers, to the rest of the owners, to Chris Paul, to the media, or to you and me. They invested in the team, so they get to do what they want with it (even if what they want is objectively bad for the team - I'm a Knicks fan, I've watched this happen for over a decade).

5) Your argument about precedent is nonsensical - if it's an isolated event, then it's not setting a precedent: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/precedent. Also, you can't just claim that this decision causes significant harm without stating what that harm is, because that's totally unclear to me - if the harm is that players don't get to decide where they play, fantastic, the league is much better off with such a scheme.

6) My "basic" (yet apparently too complex for you to summarize accurately) argument is not that "the Lakers don't deserve any more good things to happen to them," it's that: 1) as owner of the Hornets, it's the prerogative of the NBA to make organizational decisions (like trades involving the team's best player), and 2) it's a good thing that the NBA is taking steps to prevent sequels to "The Decision," it's a bad thing that players can be involved in shaping their own super-teams and the league should do what it can within the boundaries provided by its guidelines to stop that practice from continuing.