Former NBA commissioner David Stern explained on Thursday why he vetoed the original Chris Paul trade that involved the New Orleans Hornets, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets five years ago.
“I'm going to correct your language: What 'cancelation'? The GM [Dell Demps] was not authorized to make that trade,” Stern told Brian Berger on the Sports Business Radio Road Show. “And acting on behalf of owners, we decided not to make it. I was an owner rep. There was nothing to 'void.' It just never got made."
“When you're the commissioner and you have two teams that are ticked off at you, as in the Lakers and Houston, and the GMs without wanting to be attributed, spend their time trashing you, the wrong impression can be granted. It was one of the few times I decided to just go radio silent and let it play out, and I got killed. So, the answer is: there was never a trade. It was never approved by me as the owner rep.”
The deal that never was included Paul going to the Lakers, Pau Gasol heading to the Rockets. New Orleans would have received Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick that Houston had acquired from the Knicks.
On Dec. 15, Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 first-round pick.