Thursday has been a busy day in terms of Los Angeles sports. Firs the Angels essentially won the winter in baseball by signing coveted free agent first baseman Albert Pujols & starting pitcher C.J. Wilson to one third of a billion dollars (Pujols $256 million, Wilson $77 million) and then the Lakers shocked everyone by dealing Lamar Odom & Pau Gasol with the Rockets & Hornets to obtain the services of Chris Paul. It was a move that instantly made the Lakers that much better at PG while giving the Hornets enough pieces to absolve for the Paul trade by dealing with the Rockets to get Kevin Martin, Luis Scola & Goran Dragic to go along with Odom.

As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend.”

The deal according to ESPN has been shot down by David Stern & the league office citing “basketball reasons” as the main concern. In other words, Stern & the league essentially stiffed the Lakers from getting richer and the Hornets from actually coming out winners in this deal.

Suffice to say, this may be the biggest Stern gaffe of them all.

A move such as this had no true precedent, considering the fact that the league and it’s 29 other owners own the Hornets. By essentially blocking a trade that freed up space for one team (the Lakers), gave another team a new nucleus (the Hornets) and continued the plan of another to get size in a crowded West (the Rockets), the NBA now looks like “big brother”, an overseer who virtually made Bryant Gumbel look like the smartest man in the room by telling one of it’s star players, “You’re not going to do this, stay where you are.”

The league’s calling card throughout the lockout was in search of “parity”. Why look for parity now when over the past 30 years only the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Sixers, Rockets, Bulls, Pistons, Mavericks & Heat have won titles? When Dan Gilbert’s erroneous running of the Cavs has him writing to Stern about the “benefits” of the trade for the Lakers, it makes him seem even more foolish than that letter he wrote about LeBron when James bolted for South Beach last year.

Since losing LeBron, Gilbert hasn’t done anything aside from having a crap season and lucked into grabbing Kyrie Irving with the #1 pick in this year’s draft. Even though he technically “owns” the Hornets too, he still owns the Cavs which by and large means he was competing with himself in this deal. For a year, the NBA knew it should either kill the Hornets since they couldn’t find an owner or pass them off to someone who would to prevent this sort of collusions.

Did they? No and in the balance, set the stage for this sort of reaction – when they absolutely knew it should have never come to this. Now Stern, once thought to be the best commissioner in sports has had his worst year in office, putting himself in the position of a man in power who has simply been in power far too long.

He vetoed a trade that made basketball fans joyous. A trade that could have brought immense fandom to Los Angeles to see if the Paul/Kobe Bryant experiment would work for at least 66 games. One that would have made New Orleans a scrappy fun team and the Rockets in pursuit of regaining size under a new regime.

The once proud king now looks disrobed.

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