Blog Entry

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Posted on: December 11, 2011 12:27 am
Edited on: December 11, 2011 2:36 am
A tortured three-team trade that would've sent Chris Paul to the Lakers fell apart Saturday night when the Lakers and Rockets were unable to satisfy criteria set forth by the NBA, which owns the Hornets, three people with knowledge of the situation told

The Lakers immediately shifted gears and agreed to trade Lamar Odom to Dallas for draft picks, a move that rival executives and a person briefed on the team's basketball strategies viewed as a precursor for a push to acquire Dwight Howard from Orlando.

Odom goes into a trade exception created when the Mavericks signed and traded center Tyson Chandler to the Knicks in a complicated, three-team deal, setting the stage for the Lakers to seriously engage the Magic in talks to acquire Howard, who on Saturday admitted that he'd requested to be traded. confirmed reports that Howard requested to be traded to the New Jersey Nets, but two people with direct knowledge of Howard's plans said Saturday that the All-Star center has long wanted to play in Los Angeles. Howard's affinity for the city is so strong that sources said the Lakers' co-tenants in Staples Center, the Clippers, should not be ruled out as a trade partner for Orlando.

The entire league will be trying to acquire Howard in the coming days now that his trade request is public and the Magic have acknowledged giving his agent, Dan Fegan, permission to discuss trade possibilities with the Lakers, Nets and Mavericks. But the Lakers are the only team capable of offering an All-Star 7-footer, Pau Gasol, and a potential All-Star 7-footer, Andrew Bynum -- while also being willing and able to take Hedo Turkoglu and his poisonous contract. 

The Rockets, who were supposed to get Gasol in the various versions of the ill-fated, three-team Paul trade, were said to be disconsolate over the breakdown in the talks. League sources said Houston's plan had been to acquire Gasol and follow it up by acquiring free-agent big man Nene with a four-year, $60-$64 million offer.

As disappointed as the Rockets and Lakers were, the Hornets' coaching staff and front office were said to be in "collective shock," according to a person in touch with key members of the team. The breakdown of the Paul trade sent the Hornets scrambling for another suitor for the All-Star point guard, who has made it clear he wants to be traded or will leave New Orleans as an unrestricted free agent after the season.

The Hornets' coaching staff had been "ecstatic" when the initial deal was agreed to Thursday sending Odom to New Orleans from the Lakers and Luis Scola and Kevin Martin from the Rockets, among other pieces, until commissioner David Stern rejected it in his role as the final decision-maker for the owner-less Hornets for what the league described as "basketball reasons."

"It was like going from the highest of the highs to the lowest of the lows," the person in touch with the Hornets' decision-makers said. "The kind of pieces that they got, the kind of players they got and how they were going to use them, they were just really excited."

The key to the deal from the Hornets' perspective, was Scola. Hornets coach Monty Williams also had been looking forward to the opportunity to coach Odom, a supremely talented player he believed he had a chance to reach and coach to his full potential.

Other teams, including the Clippers, Warriors and Celtics, were putting other moves on hold until the Lakers' pursuit of Paul reached a fork in the road. But given that the NBA blocked the initial trade sending Paul to the Lakers Thursday, and set forth conditions as the Hornets' functioning ownership that the three teams couldn't meet, it's difficult to imagine executives jumping into another Paul soap opera not knowing what the parameters for a deal would be.

"Everyone is scared" to deal with the Hornets about Paul now, a person plugged into the discussions said early Sunday.

Still, one front office executive said that talks with the Warriors and Clippers about a Paul trade would now be reignited. Previous discussions stalled when the Clippers refused to include sharpshooter Eric Gordon in the deal, and the leverage New Orleans had to hold out for a better offer is now gone -- ironically, killed by the league's refusal to approve deals that the Hornets' basketball staff supported as a way to avoid losing Paul for nothing. In an ill-conceived effort to strengthen the assets New Orleans would receive for Paul, the league has left the woebegone franchise in the unthinkable predicament of getting stuck with the disgruntled superstar and having him make the franchise-crippling decision of leaving as a free agent without any compensation.

Among the most coveted assets the Clippers possess is Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick, which in a strong draft could be the piece that finally pushes a CP3 trade to its merciful conclusion. Under normal business conditions, the Clippers wouldn't have to offer such a valuable asset after other avenues fell through for the Hornets. But with the league office calling the shots, this is anything but business as usual.

Really, only one thing was certain early as the aftermath of the Paul saga circulated through front offices across the league. However it's resolved, the logical next step could be a courtroom when, as one team executive said, "The lawsuits start flying."

While some executives and agents were confused as to why the Lakers didn’t seriously engage the Magic in trade discussions that would’ve sent Bynum and Gasol to Orlando for Howard and Turkoglu in the first place, sources said the answer was simple: the Lakers want to try to position themselves to land both Paul and Howard.

“They got greedy,” one person briefed on the situation said.

Despite sources confirming that Howard had requested to be traded to the Nets – a team that has been on his list since at least February – two people with knowledge of his plans said he views L.A. as a better fit for his off-court aspirations. The conflicting signals from Howard are similar to what Magic executives have experienced over the past year as the All-NBA center has frequently changed his mind about whether he wants to stay in Orlando or not.

The Magic, attempting to avoid the scenario that saw them lose franchise center Shaquille O'Neal as a free agent in 1996 and get nothing in return, are adamant about exhausting trade possibilities with teams whether they are on Howard’s list of preferred destinations or not.

As high as the stakes are for Orlando, they were equally high for New Jersey, which traded Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks last season for point guard Deron Williams without any assurances that Williams would still be with the team when it moves to a new arena in Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season. If Howard lands with the Lakers, and New Jersey fails to land Nene, the Nets' efforts to surround Williams with enough talent to sign a long-term deal next summer would be on life support. Front office sources, however, believed that Nene's motivation for signing with Houston would've been to play alongside Gasol -- who is still, to his delight, a Laker for now but will now have to deal with speculation that Orlando will be his new home before long.

Talks to send Paul to the Lakers were revived Friday afternoon after Stern took the stunning step of killing the deal in its previous form. The goal was to tweak the deal in a way that allowed New Orleans to come away with younger players and more draft picks, the directive issued by the commissioner's office after a trade that would've sent the Hornets three bonafide starters, a solid backup, and a mid-first-round pick was deemed not good enough.

Stern must approve any transaction as monumental as a Paul trade not as commissioner, but as the final decision-maker for the Hornets in their absence of an owner since the league took over the franchise in 2010 from George Shinn. The deal consummated Thursday would've sent Paul to the Lakers, who would've Gasol to the Rockets and Odom to the Hornets. New Orleans also would've received Martin, Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick from Houston -- a solid haul by Hornets GM Dell Demps under the circumstances in the eyes of many of his fellow executives.

Paul, among the biggest stars and most electrifying guards in the league, has an early-termination option after the season and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He already has declined a contract extension with New Orleans, and it is a foregone conclusion that he would leave as a free agent with his preferred destination being the Knicks.

New York, which last season added Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, decided not to wait for the Paul saga to play itself out and acquired Chandler in a sign-and-trade that gave the Knicks among the most formidable frontcourts in the NBA. It was through some creative cap maneuvering -- words perhaps never before associated with the franchise -- that the Knicks were able to jump ahead of the heavily favored Warriors and land Chandler. By transforming the deal into a sign-and-trade, Mavs owner Mark Cuban created the space to acquire Odom, one of the most skilled and versatile big men in the league who he has long coveted.

In another domino effect of this furious post-lockout player movement, the Warriors plan to sign Clippers restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan to a four-year, $40 million offer sheet Sunday after they clear the cap space to accommodate his first-year salary of about $9 million. The Warriors also had been engaged in trade talks with the Hornets for Paul, but were unwilling to include guard Stephen Curry in the discussions.


Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:45 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Stern's stupidity has actually pulled the rug out from the Nets. I suspect they just lost Howard. There is no way the Nets deal will stand up to a deal of Gasol and Bynum. In fact with all these draft picks and dumping Odom the Lakers may end up MORe stacked: with Howard PLUS another big name.

The winners here may be the Magic. The bidding war begins.

Stern's intrusion hass changed the NBA landscape. He has manipulated so that there are winners and losers. The losers should be pretty upset. Stern killed the Nets. Think of how interesting the East would be with the Heat, Knicks, Nets, Celts, Chicago all with some big time talent. Stern ruined that and needs to be fired.

Since: Jul 30, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:43 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Pau is handling himself like a real stand up guy and MAN (reporting to camp). Really disappointed with LO and the way he's dealing with all the uncertainty amid the circus this proposed/nixed deal has created. Was real big LO fan and supporter, however this reality and Kardashian garbage has really created a dark cloud for whatever reason around LO and it really is about time he takes his services elsewhere. Thanks LO for all the great times and really wearing the purple and gold proudly. Your services were really appreciated (no lies), but in LA the name on the front of the shirt really matters a whole lot more than anywhere else, and it about seems that the 7 on the back reads more Kardashian than Odom now. True love from a real Lakers fan, good luck wherever you may land!

Since: Aug 21, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:40 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

I really thought that the Lakers going for Paul while giving up Gasol and Odom was a big gamble. They are relying on a 7 foot bubble boy (anytime he steps outside he gets injured) to hold the middle down long term. And when I say boy I mean boy. Kid cant cant act like a man on or off the court. I think getting Howard has always been the better answer and now they will get him and if a trade for Howard... ANY trade for him, gets blocked, the Lakers will aggressivelt sue the bageezes out of Stern and the NBA for colluding against them. And rightfully so. This is ridiculous. Stern has lost his damn mind, and this debacle will cost him his job, if not at the end of this year, then next. Some may call it a retirement but everyone will know why. And he deserves this. This is tampering beyond what Tim Donaghy did. The owners ratified the new CBA. They didnt get what they wanted in the deal but needed a season so it got passed. They need to be men and live up to it now. This is embarrassing. Ive been a Spurs fan since I was 10 years old. Robinson was the main reason why. But I also live in Ohio, which means by default I also love the Cavs, and I hate Gilbert. He is just a bitter loser. Man isnt used to not getting what he wants and its clear this man cannot handle things not going his way. I was fine with the way he reacted to LeBron leaving, because through his whining and complaining, Cavs fans saw it as him sticking up for the city and for them. This recent email leaked showed it wasnt anything close to that, it was a letter expressing his selfish views motivated by money. What star player is EVER going to want to sign with the Cavs now to play for that man? Can he not see he is chasing away any talent he may have been able to get? I mean its Cleveland, its hard enough to get talent there willfully (ie not by the draft.. through free agency) with a great owner. Now we have a whiney, selfish, loudmouth a^%hole there. Ugh. Gilbert needs to sell the Cavs and focus on his casinos which need to open ASAP so I dont have to drive to Indiana and Detroit to gamble for a weekend!

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:26 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Thinking about it, I think the reports coming out... again, are missing info... again. Like when the trade was approved, then shot down, then dead, then revived, and now dead.

I think what maybe going on is, Odom goes to the Mavs for picks, possibly 1-3 picks maybe 1 first rounder and 1 or 2 second rounders, well it doesn't really matters at this point, but they get some picks back for Odom.

Those picks get split up along with the Lakers picks to make a deal happen between the Hornets, Rockets, and Lakers. The other picks get thrown into a deal for Howard.

I don't know just an assumption after watching all this craziness going down. So far whenever a report comes there is no telling what its missing, be that Stern being bullied, crying from Cleveland, or Nancy Grace wishing she was apart of this.

Since: Aug 21, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:25 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Stern blew it and Gilbert can suck it.  Both of their days are numbered

Lol, the billionaire owners days are numbered? What? Lmao. Even if he loses money and has to sell the Cavs at a loss, hes a successful business man, about to open a casino or two in Ohio, where more money will roll in. His success is far from over.

Since: Aug 31, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:20 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

And...Waht about Houston?  they actually wanted Gasol and had a plan.  Hey Stern, this is all backfiring...The lakers have actually leveraged this to get Howard and dump odom (remember lakers are no longer triangle) and Houston is screwed and now you'll get nothing for CP3.  Way to let Cleveland, Minneapolis, Charlotte (MJ) and other mis managed franchises to wag your tail.  Small markets my ass, OK CITY and Memphis did well last year.. You are protecting mismanaged franchises under the umbrella of "competitive balance"

Since: Aug 31, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:08 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

lol..yea the little Napoleon will soon become a pawn

Since: Dec 11, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:07 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Stern blew it and Gilbert can suck it.  Both of their days are numbered.

Since: Dec 11, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:07 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Stern blew it and Gilbert can suck it.  Both of their days are numbered.

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:04 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

thsi is why stern getting involved was dumb, i mean now the hornets will have too take the same sort of package the nuggets werr forced from the knicks, when the nets had the best offer, so how this working out for you stern, you moron, you need to step down right away, the fact the nab is running the hornets is a conflict of interst and dell demps will not get a better package then what was on the table

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