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: May 29, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2011 2:34 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

No difference between LeBron and fact, Carmelo may be worse.

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 2:27 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Please don't get all dreamy eyed about Kevin Durant when he gets closer to free agency and if OK has turned themselves into San Antonio ( I mean winning) they'll have the same problem. 

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 2:20 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

I hope CP3 just walks and NO folds after this year, David Stern is a complete idiot.

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:58 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Mere speculation what would have happened if Boozer and LeBron had stayed together.  I can speculate that come crunch time, in the 4th quarter, LeBron becomes invisible or chokes.  LeBron is the most over-hyped dude I have ever seen in the NBA.  He's surrounded by championship caliber talent in Miami and then loses to the over the hill Dallas Mavericks.  Self absorbed, me me me, "misunderstood by the fans and media" but just another over paid jerk with a HS diploma, no humility or class.  We won't see any championships in Miami ever.  The Knicks and The City of NY are hungry with hungrier players.  What you do have going for you LeBron is you will be rich albeit a rich jerk but rich still!

Since: Aug 21, 2007
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:56 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Should be soon. Chewbacca filing for a divorce from Lamar.

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:45 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

I hate Lamar Odom but the Mavs needed to pick up SOMEBODY after losing Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler. So this is good news. He should make for a good backup when Dirk sits out or if the Mavs wanna play big they can play them both.

Since: Jan 27, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:44 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

   Everyone can thank David Stern for the demise of the Hornets. They had a great deal that was going to make them a good team and attractive to a new owner. You bring in superstars by having a good team already in place. It doesn't matter if it is a small market or a larger one, the best superstars just want to win. The hornets would have been a solid team after this trade and would have just been a superstar away from being a real contender. Now Chris Paul's trade value has diminished and he probably will end up signing with the lakers next year anyway.Now the Hornets will be left with a bad team. David Stern should resign immediatley or be fired. His incompetence has lost any intergirty that was left in the NBA.
    Also, Dan Gilbert needs to start looking at his own team and get his head out of the sand. Lebron is gone, now deal with it and improve your team. Nevermind, sell your team because there will never be any players that will ever go there as long as you own them.
Great job guys! The Lakers will always be fine, it's the small market Hornets and Rockets that got screwed. Aren't these the type of teams you are trying to protect? You stupid morons! 

Since: Dec 6, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:43 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

You haven't been paying attention to the NBA of late.  The ownership doesn't broker the trades the players and their agents do.  Odum or Bynum and Gasol however you package it will hardly make the Mavs a repeat or Orlando happy.  Howard wants to go to L.A.  He sees himself bigger than just a basketball player but a movie star!  Orlando has seen this movie before and it doesn't have a happy ending.  Last I recall Shaq didn't get any academy awards while he was in L.A.  About 5 people saw Shazam, Shaqs mom and dad and his wife and kids.  Uggghhh one of the worst movies ever.  Young Howard will find out soon there just aren't any roles for 7 foot tall people.  Maybe he gets a spot on a Cal Worthington car commercial but I just don't see him racking up movie/commercial roles or any other endorsements.  He will get a big fat multi-year contract and the possibility to contend for a title every year Kobe maintains the level he's playing at and thats pretty much it.  To date young Howard hasn't said why he wants to leave or where he wants to be but I could care less.  Two things can happen.  The Magic can broker a deal before Christmas or during the upcoming season.  Or do nothing and get nothing when Howard becomes a unrestricted free agent.  I prefer making a deal now.  Even if the Kardashians come to podunk Orlando.  Either way I would like to see Howard out of town ASAP.  The last thing in the world I want is to have some overpaid, ego maniac, NBA grunt with a HS diploma that does not want to be on our playoff caliber team.  I did read "Dwight wants more say/input to team and personnel decisions."  News flash got a HS diploma not an MBA, your last name isn't DeVoss, nor are you married to one of the DeVoss family, you will never amass a fortune like MJ and be able to "buy" a piece of ownership influence.  Now just take your tired, old Shaq sequel out of my town!

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:41 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Well said.  Kevin Durant should be the poster boy for the NBA.  LeBron, Bosh, Paul, and Howard could learn alot from him.  That said, it's not merely an economic issue.  Maybe the Hornets would be better off today if in 1996 they didn't trade the draft rights to Kobe Bryant for an over-the-hill Vlade Divac.  Rather than examining the economic aspect, let's examine some of the personnel moves these small market teams have made over the years.  Cleveland f**ked up with Carlos Boozer....and, no, he wasn't signed away by a big market team; he was signed away by Utah.  Imagine how different that franchise would've been had they kept Boozer and LeBron together.  Portland has just had an unbelievable run of bad luck in the draft- Roy and Oden.  There are many factors that need to be considered here.

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 1:36 pm

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

One more thing. The Lakers could even use Chauncey Billups for the one year while waiting for Paul. Just be straight up with Chauncey so that he knows it is short term. It would give him a shot at another ring. More importantly, it would allow Chauncey to regain a sense of control over his career. By signing for one year, he would become an unrestricted free agent after this year. He is upset about being thrown into bidding pool for cheap. He could get stuck with the Kings or Cavs, or the Wizards. Even the Hornets. That would be like a bit##- slap to the face. I believe Billups would jump at the chance to play with Kobe, Howard, and Gasol/ Bynum even for just one year.

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