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 26, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2011 7:54 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks


Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: December 11, 2011 7:35 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

As a Laker fan I would rather get Howard right now and Paul later in the year or as a free agent. Stern screwed the Hornets because they will get nothing now, or at least nowhere near what they would have landed in this deal.

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2011 7:22 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Wonder what the ratings would've been for a Kobe-Paul-Howard Laker team vs. the LeBron-Wade-Bosh in the finals or any regular season game for that matter?  Through the roof is my guess.  I'm sure small markets will generate a similar buzz (sarcasm).

Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2011 7:15 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

As a Celtics fan, I hate hate hate the Lakers, but it's really not right what happened to them.  It was a fair trade all the way around.  They were giving up alot.  Dan Gilbert should not be allowed to own a franchise.  He's a cry-baby p***y.  So no big market teams are allowed to have good players?  Yeah, that's going to be a recipe for league success.  So no players want to go to your franchise?  You suck it up and make your franchise a place players want to go.  Don't just whine about others success.

Since: Apr 26, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:47 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

So many great points made here from what has to be a true fan of the game. Lakers on the verge of demolishing there whole front line... and still stuck w/ old point guard, no spot up shooters, and absolutely no depth! This is a recipe for underachievement!

Since: Dec 19, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2011 5:22 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

NO CP3 and Howard Dream Team in L.A.

Anyone who thinks Stern blocked the CP3 deal to show his power is wrong.  The owners did it and they didn't want a Paul, Kobe, Howard trio in L.A. which makes sense and also because the Lakers would've have given up much for 2 All NBA players.  Odom no matter how valuable he is was a 6th man, Gasol makes 60 million for the next 3 yrs and Bynum an injury prone Center has been hyped up as the next great Laker for years w/out proving it. 

Unless Mitch Kupiak has another plan in place for a deal after they get Howard this team isn't good enough to win.  Fisher, Kobe, Artest, some PF, Howard won't beat elit teams. 

Losing Odom is a bigger loss because Odom he was a huge chip and now they only have Gasol and Bynum as trade chips.
So now Orlando is asking for Bynum and Gasol for Howard, though I think that won't happen the Lakers are in trouble.

Basically the Lakers won't get Chris Paul and will be stuck with an old PG whether thats Fisher, Billups or someone else who knows.
Shannon Brown is gone they have some rookie who is probably a bust since every Lakers drafted outside of Bynum seems to be.
At SF they have the old Artest or Metta World Peace he isn't the same player he was with the Pacers, Kings or Rockets even.
Matt Barnes is a decent backup but not really a game changer.

At PF they have 1 of the top bigs in the game in Pau Gasol  People hate on him caz he isn't physical enough which is just stupid.
He's more skilled than a lot of guards even, he has all the post moves and can hit the jumper as well.
Also his offensive rebounding is huge, teaming him up with Bynum is the reason the Lakers won 3 titles.

Now w/out Odom they have no backup for Gasol at 31 that wouldn't be a problem but where is the Lakers scoring coming from.
Kobe is 33 and not a young 33 since he's played starter minutes since he was 20.  His body has been breaking down whether its knees, ankles, pinky he isn't the same player or else no way would the Lakers have been swept last yr by the Mavs.  Still he's a top 5 player but he can only do so much.

Bynum is even more important now because Odom is gone.  If Bynum gets hurt with another knee injury the Lakers are screwed they'll be a mid to lower seed in the West.  Caracter, Ebanks and Ratliff aren't good enough to start.  Of course this is all based on not trading for Howard.

Not sure Paul and Kobe would've worked out so great anyway, Kobe has never played with a conventional PG really.  He's had Fisher and the triangle offense for most of his career.  The big difference would've been on defense no longer would guys like Parker, Rondo, Westbrook, DWill hurt the Lakers so much.

The rumored trade of Gasol, Bynum and draft picks for Howard and Turkoglu won't help solve the Lakers problems at PG, SF on the bench or trying to get younger.  They will still have a weak bench unless Turkoglu is the 6th man and still there is no PG or PF.  A lot of the Lakers problems stem from having bad contracts whether its Artest, Walton, Blake no one wants these players.  Outside of their bigs and Kobe of course they have nothing other teams want.  They do still have their mid level though thats 3 million from what is the new CBA ppl are saying so maybe they can entice a PG or PF to play w/Kobe n Howard for a shot at a title.

Since: Nov 26, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 5:12 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

The NBA was not concerned about the Lakers, since the Hornet are owned by the League, which is all of the other 29 teams, Stern makes the deciisions and he felt that the Hornet were not getting enough so Houston had to include a couple other unamed players. They then proceed to kill that one too and like the article stated, the parties were getting fed up.

The real reason the trade was vetoed was the reason the NBA want to create a equal playing field by restricting large market teams. That is BS cause the owners of the small market teams knew full well what they were buying.

Players will always want to play for the larger market teams. Why should the large market teams be force to pay up for the welfare teams. They are following the political climate in this country; take from the rich and give to the poor.

Since: May 4, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:50 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Grabs another bag of popcorn and enjoys the show! Cool

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:47 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

As the world turns. As the fur flies. As the trades fall apart. Who know what tomorrow will bring?

For the moment, Odom to Dallas could hold the Vince Carter move to Dallas until Cuban can figure out how many players he can sign before getting a center. Dalembert is still the target for Dallas and as long as Howard is without a new home all big men are in limbo.

But everyone needs to understand how things work for teams over the cap. Thye can trade for players with higher pay left but can't sign them outright. That is why the Boston deal for David West may fall apart. This from yahoo:

Indiana has been discussing a two-year deal with West but with a higher annual salary, sources said. The Pacers have cap space to sign West outright, while Boston, which is over the salary cap, needs the sign-and-trade scenario to acquire him. With the -to-the-Lakers deal falling apart again late Saturday night, the Hornets still hadn’t made any calls to pursue re-signing West, sources said.
Sign-and-trade still lets teams over the cap to salary. How the Lakers move on Howard could be part of adding a vet PG that has been cut this year and using a signn and trade next year to get space to go after Chris Paul or Deron Williams. While Nets have a lot of cap space they are still waiting for Howard to be shipped to them and I guess Nene is on hold until then.

I mean, the Magic will need more than Bynum and Mavs picks to get Howard. Later 1st round picks have little value (often they are just sold). So will it be Bynum and Gasol to Orlando (maybe too high a price) or do Lakers involve the Rockets and get their players to fill out the offer. And the Lakers keep some of those players for themselves to finish out their roster.

With the Clippers and GS still in the running to get Chris Paul, a lot of teams can't move foward without feeling they could miss something. The backlash of the Paul trade being shot down is the big deals are in limbo and the Lakers may hold the key to anything major going down.

Even The Shadow has no clue on this weekend.

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:42 am

Lakers pull out of Paul talks

Hmm, I know the Lakers now can dish out the best deal to get Howard, but what if...

Houston remains in talks... this time with the Magic and Lakers

Let's say same type of trade as the Hornets one except

Lakers get: Howard, Scola, Turkoglu

Rockets get: Gasol

Magic get: Bynum, Martin, Dragic, Rockets 1st pick (NY's), Lakers 1st pick (either Dal, or theirs), and a 2nd rounder from the Lakers

Anyone think this could be a starter to getting a deal done, if not done? or do you think Gasol, and Bynum have to go to the Magic eliminating the Rockets.

Thinking of the Net's and how they more than likely can't dish out a better deal than this, should be a sure bet to land Howard.

This trade basically ensures that the Hornet's and Stern are screwed. As if I am not mistaken but could be, then when Paul is a FA the Lakers can do a sign and trade to the Hornet's of Turkoglu to them, as a rub in the face and a nice laugh at how Stern fumes over it. Of course this last part is purely their for how I would love to see a way or any way to seal Stern's fate in his mishandling of the NBA.

Not sure if I would like Scola, but it's better than dealing with a carousel at PF, and PG, when the Lakers can save the lower TE for bench help, and the higher TE for a starter at PG.

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