Flashback: Kevin Johnson over Hakeem Olajuwon
I’ll admit I’ve been a borderline NBA fan for the better part of a decade. That time between February and April when the headlines are consumed by basketball is the definition of a black hole for me. Which is why last year was strange. I started enjoying basketball again. Maybe it was the night my buddy and I spent in Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina watching Duke and UNC play and then meeting the players. Perhaps it was the fact that LeBron did take his talents to South Beach and I was caught up in the “everyone beat Miami” kick. Basketball, for whatever reason, was exciting to me again. Even I couldn’t ignore the infusion of top-notch young talent that has taken over the association and it was a good thing.
Then they shot themselves in the foot.
This summers lockout was a messy one. Lots of bickering back and forth and name calling only seen on a playground. They knew they had a job to get done and “fortunately” they did it. Even if it was reluctantly and with the realization that both sides were losing lots and lots of money by the day. David Stern (much more on him soon) re-asserted himself as the worst commissioner in sports with his handling of this summers negotiation. While in the end he tried to save some face i think the general consensus is if he would lend an open ear to both sides maybe, just maybe, players and owners alike will be a little more responsive.
But, despite all of this summers madness I was still excited to watch basketball. I was even more excited once news broke yesterday of Chris Paul going to Los Angeles. I am not a Lakers fan, but at this point the NBA is all about fun for me. It would have been fun to watch CP3 and Kobe Bryant team up this winter. That would have made for some fun times against teams like the Knicks, Heat, Celtics and Mavericks. Dare I say my anticipation for good basketball was at a 10-year high despite the efforts they made to not play basketball this season.
Alas, they vetoed the trade for Chris Paul. No CP3 in LA.
The NBA has a knack for doing things like this. Giving you something then taking it away. I could never be fully invested in the NBA because a situation where a legitimate trade is proposed to teams, and everyone seems to be getting a fair shake gets overturned because owners don’t think it is “fair.” I guess my confusion comes from asking the logical question “what wasn’t fair about this deal?”
Houston, who is said to have been working on a deal to get Pau Gasol, would have filled a void left by Yao Ming and doing so with a top-three big man in the league. i would consider that fair. New Orleans was receiving Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. Those are three very solid players in return for one. Especially when you consider David West is probably out of New Orleans. So what was the problem? David Stern’s backbone. it only works when he’s dealing with the players and not the owners.
Rumor has it a few owners were upset by the deal and vetoed the trade. David Stern passed it off as an inability to pass off on the deal due to “basketball reasons.” Someone want to explain how making this trade was bad for “basketball reasons?” I’m not a Lakers fan, or a Hornets fan, or a Rockets fan. But the NBA continues to amaze me at its decision making process. For that reason, not “basketball reasons,” I continue to be on the fence about fully investing in the association.