Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

Welcome to 2013!  I’m happy you made it but PLEASE don’t read into it.  Nothing bothers me more than those elaborate 2012 reviews that casually ignore significant sports stories like Lebron James being unclutch, to Lebron the champion, to Lebron putting up 30-9-7 and no one is shocked.  They always seem to miss how bountygate became a story about Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspensions and Saints brass seems to have gotten a total pass about the bounty system THEY started and were warned about by…the Commissioner’s office.  Oh and how about the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year being Michael Phelps; I understand the temptation to give it to an Olympian but to not give it to Usain Bolt is pretty egregious (USA bias?).  All of those things are best left to professionals.  I can only offer you two of my favorite things: the 2012 Commissioner of the Year award and an updated assessment of the ALL Sports Defensive Team.

2012 Commish of the Year

It’s been a busy year for the fearless leaders of the Big Four professional sports leagues in North America.  I give the Commissioner of the Year honor out to recognize the best of the most hated people in sports.  No one gives people greater angst than Tim Tebow professional sports commissioners but we should always stop and realize that they do oversee the things we love despite the fact that fans think they could do a better job with greater ease.  It should also be noted that you (yes YOU) probably cannot come close to doing their jobs because they work for the owners and you hate the owners.

This year was much harder than last year because lockouts really helped to cut down the pool by two people.  2011 saw Alan Selig storm to victory late in the year past Gary Bettman (gasp!) primarily because Selig and the MLBPA peacefully sat down and passed a collective bargaining agreement which got no media attentions because it wasn’t confrontational.  Furthermore, the deal that passed made the game more entertaining with the added wild card play in game.  Yes, instant replay is a problem and yes MLB does have the strongest players union but credit goes to the guy who provided stability and excellent playoff baseball to the views.

With that said, the final standings are:

4) Gary Bettman

Locked out again after an amazing hockey run.  Any bit of momentum created by this league is thrown away with an ease second only to the XFL.  No one respect Bettman and players have a viable alternative to hockey (though not viable in the long term).  Bettman does seem to do a good job with owners as not playing is more cost effective than playing but fielding no product is just not good enough.

3) Roger Goodell (2010 Winner)

For all my issues with how Bountygate has been misled it still has been a black eye on the commissioner’s office.  Anyone that does Adderall is apparently exempt from punishment for cheating because it’s not like football has a steroids issue. (Seriously have you seen these players?!  Don’t bother me about steroids in baseball if the NFL is loaded with muscular freaks) Oh the replacement referee debacle all falls on him and although ratings did not suffer, it’s never good business to allow less than your best to be on display.

2) Alan Selig

Not much to report other than baseball STILL has not adopted instant replay because old man Selig is old.  The changes to the playoff format, while great, were rushed through leaving glaring holes on what to do (re: one-game playoff rosters allowing for expanded slots for more pitching changes than Tony La Russa could think of).  Not a bad season just not good enough for high honors.

1)      David Stern

Started the NBA season better than anyone could’ve imagined.  For all his shortcomings (namely his world class personality), he totally embraced the bad guy role this year.  Check out the beginning of the NBA draft amid a healthy set of boos. “Woah…thank you for that warm welcome…” and the hand to the ear at the :49 second mark is stuff of pure gold.  Great season after a rough start in the lockout era and most importantly pushed through his grand idea of a “World Cup of Basketball.”  Congrats on this awards and announcing his retirement.

ALL II Defensive Squad Update

As many of you know, I defend a ton of people for pretty good reasons.  Often times these people get no credit or respect because their narrative is totally miscast by the broader media/fans.  Can’t pull a fast one by me.  It’s time to update the defensive team by sport: who’s in, who’s out, and a brief (I promise) explanation how we got here.

The National Basketball Association Wing (aka The Dirk Wing)

CURRENTLY IN: Russell Westbrook, Vinny Del Negro, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams (Suspended for sucking)

OUT: Chris Bosh, Erik Spolestra

Won a title and Bosh’s absence made things much harder for Los Heat to do it.  Value on display.  Second best player that playoffs for the Heat.  Spo won the chip and revolutionized line ups.

In: Mike Brown, my father Avery Johnson, Brook Lopez

Brown: Fired after five games without getting his entire healthy team on the court.  Kobe wanted the Princeton Offense.  Can’t fix being old as s**t.

Johnson: Won coach of the month the same day he was axed.  In the mist of a bad run led by an injured Lopez and career low shooting from Williams.  Got kiss of death from Williams.  Honestly a .500 team on pace to finish above .500 (by a game but still).

Lopez: underappreciated as an offensive force.  Team loses when injured.  Team wins when healthy.  Needs to get totally healthy but team is undeniably better when he is active and on the court.

The Major League Baseball Wing (aka Playing without Steroids Wing)

CURRENT: Ichiro, Carl Crawford

CHIKA CAN NEVER TALK ABOUT BASEBALL AGAIN AFTER ICHIRO’s PLATOON SPLITS WITH THE YANKEES LOOKED GREAT.

OUT: n/a

IN: Mike Scioscia, Justin Upton, Mike Trout

Scioscia is going to be under extreme pressure to win immediately after their loaded line-up missed the playoffs last year.  Smart manager.  Proven winner.  Thin ice.

Upton is the cause of great concern with his numbers regressing last season.  Many outlets are reporting that Arizona is looking to deal him (again) after signing Cody Ross.  Still like the talent that is in Upton; pure athlete that can put it together for a solid career though a jump to the American League may stunt that growth.

Trout should’ve won the MVP by MILES.  Best all-around player.  People don’t understand that defense is part of the game.  Do better.

The National Football Association Wing (aka Nate Kaeding Wing)

CURRENT: Alex Smith, Roger Goodell, Anthony “Tony” Romo, Joe Flacco

OUT: Pete Carroll, Steven Jackson, Reggie Bush

IN: Mark Sanchez

Romo is easily a top ten quarterback.  Over his career he consistently throws for 4300-4600 yards completing 65% of his passes with a 2:1 TD/INT ratio.  Yes he makes some poor decisions in huge moments but it’s not like his defense is helping him.  Winning late to make it into playoff contention should also mean something.  If Dallas thinks jettisoning Romo is going to make them better then they are bound to fail for the next five years.

Sanchez plays with no one talented.  Get that man a talented person at a skill position and then bother me.  (He is also here for comedic relief)

SO thats it.  Expect me to rant about how no one will be admitted in the Hall of Fame and I will reveal my clear cut NFL MVP which I declared in week 14.

ALL II

While watching the gold medal basketball game with friend and master chef Tony, we engaged in a very amusing argument over the best basketball celebration.  I think this began after seeing a highlight of Tyson Chandler blocking someone and doing something lame afterwards.  We both agreed that Dikembe Mutombo’s finger wag was awesome.  Top tier quality.  But that is for now number four behind the two options vying for second.

(If you are wondering what is first, then you need to look no further than Allen Iverson’s “Step Over” of Tyronn Lue.  First of all, it will never happen that often because people usually don’t fall in a place to be stepped over.  Second, AI hitting the shot stunned Lue long enough that AI could just step over him and do NOTHING about it.  Third, AI looked at him like he was the scum of the Earth.  Anytime you can walk over someone, it’s great.  Take my favorite Scottie Pippen highlight for instance.  You step over someone and you can walk around like a BOSS because, well, you are for that 15 second period.  Usually, though, it can be an issue.  AI doing it was just too good)

Tony believes the best celebration is Sam Cassell’s “big balls” routine after hitting a clutch basket.  Originally created by the movie Major League II, the big balls celebration represents everything people want from an over the top celebration.  It looks goofy.  You only do it at the end of games.  You will get fined from it.  Everyone knows what it is but the analysts can’t say what it is because it is somewhat crude.  Although I cannot find video of Sam Cassell actually doing this, I did find Kobe (dare I say) whipping it out against the Spurs.  It’s fantastic.  Eddie House doing it too.

Naturally I disagree with Tony and suggest that the only celebration worthy of the top spot should be Shawn Kemp’s finger pointing particularly after he crushed a dunk over Alton Lister.  It is as brash and in your face as you possibly could be without getting into a fight.  You just devastate someone with a dunk.  They are down and embarrassed and your face lights up while you emphatically point to the person on the ground, as if everyone isn’t looking at that person already.  It’s bold and hilarious.  And it can happen at any time you crush dunks on people.  It only helps that the camera guy sees Kemp pointing and immediately looks to the ground to see a shell-shocked Lister.  If I can point and yell at someone then I am all in.

You decide which is better: big balls or emphatic pointing in someone’s face?

Don’t forget to check out my Western Conference (aka the Better Conference) preview.

Chicago Bulls vs. Philadelphia Seventy Sixers

The Sixers did their best to suck their way to the eighth seed.  Maybe they thought they match up better against the Bulls?  Doubt it.  Bulls bench is better, star player is better, and coach is better.  Bulls can use this as an adequate tune up for tougher defensive challenges and getting Rose and Deng healthy.  There really isn’t much else to say about this team.  Eastern conference basketball bringing the A-game.  Sixers had losses to the Raptors, Wizards, and Howard-less Magic.  I feel like a loser spending this many words on it.

Bulls in four

Miami Heat vs. New York Knickerbockers

Certainly the most talented series with the 2003 draft class reunited in full.  It’s hard to think that Wade is the only one of the three to have a NBA championship but such is fate given that he is riding that title to all the passes in the world for his poor close out defense, propensity to turn the ball over late, flop at the slightest increase in air-conditioning, and become replaceable in this grand experiment.  Miami is and will always be the team to beat despite their less than spectacular bench and poor three point shooting/defense.

New York has enjoyed(?) a Broadway drama from underachieving, revival with Jeremy Lin, sabotage in getting D’Antoni fired, and now a run to the seventh seed.  The three point buckets will be critical for the Knicks to stay close, something they can do.  More importantly for me is the play of Carmelo Anthony, arguably the second best player in the second half of the season behind, well, Lebron James.  Usually I don’t play arm chair psychologist but I genuinely believe Melo is out to prove a point and will play very good defense and amazing offense to remind people who felt he was NOT a superstar (some Bulls fans on this blog for instance) that he was in the same class and has performed at an astronomically high level throughout his career.  Superstars matter and the greater talent will prevail in the most exciting series in the first round.

Heat in five!

Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

Magic have the better coach but talent on the court matters more.  No stabbing you Dwight in the Back Howard (it’s a pun!) so this series is useless.  If the Pacers are serious they don’t waste any time and sweep.  I think they will sweep.  Who cares either way!?  This is exactly why the Eastern Conference sucks!  For the first time in a while the East gets all teams in over .500 but we get two garbage series because the conference is trash.  Will Howard be there supporting his team?  Will he root against Stan Van Gundy?  Only drama in this series is how fast will Stan Van Gundy be fired.

Pacers in four.

Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks

Bill Simmons has been pushing the big three as elite again to my disappointment but I cannot ignore the revitalization of Kevin Garnett and the stability of Paul Pierce.  Most notably the oft trade rumored Rajon Rondo is simply a BOSS.  Boston’s size – or lack thereof based on Garnett playing at the center position- means an injured Pachulia may still be effective in the paint.

Joe Johnson definitely has a favorable match up on Avery Bradley with height and will expose him.  Pierce will do the same on the other end.  In the end Rondo will be the X-factor; he struggled mightily in the season series but will absolutely shift the momentum to Boston.  These teams are remarkably close and this will be a good test for a team that does not score or rebound.  Underappreciated Josh Smith will have his hands full with KG at the center position too making for a competitive small line up leading to tight games.  Experience will prevail in this one as long as Rondo doesn’t shoot 23% all series.

Celtics in Six

(left to right) Morgan Tuck, Jordan Jones, Shabazz Muhammad, Tyler Lewis, Rasheed Sulaimon
Courtesy of McDonald's

After far too many failed dunk attempts, the 2012 McDonald’s All American jamboree ended.  The real basketball game will be played Wednesday at the United Center but this night belonged to the glamor of showing out.  Poor three point shooting, a very exciting skills competition, and athletes who could jump out the gym – though not finish their dunks – brought the crowd and other All-Americans to their feet.  For the excitement and corporate sponsorship of the event, the action on the court didn’t blow me away.  This was stardom beginning to be harnessed for greatness but still free from total control.  Looking at some of the earlier All-American contests, these athletes – men and women- look bigger, stronger, and faster than their rivals two decades ago.  The ebbs and flows of the crowd also struck me.  Despite the distant relationship between the University of Chicago and the outside world, the crowd featured as many students as non-students making for a lively and refreshingly diverse audience.  Honestly, the audience made the event rising with the hot shooting of Morgan Tuck or the electricity of Shabazz Muhammad trying and eventually jumping over his peer for a crushing dunk.  It featured the frenzied reaction of people vying for free shirts – a time honored tradition that never stops working.  No matter what the situation, people at sporting events will go absolutely nuts trying to win a shirt.  No fights, no belittling, no animosity.  Everyone came to see the future stars and everyone left with a smile.  Being that this event was sponsored by McDonald’s, that last sentence looks like I was paid by them to write it but I assure I was not – just brainwashed by subliminal messages and the smell of a Big Mac.  Still all of the show took a back seat to the players in a different element – the press conference.

I’ve been to a handful of press conferences but they all involved professional athletes conscious of their brand.  When watching professional stars speak during in-game interviews or in press conferences, they usually don’t seem genuine.  I perceive cliché’s delivered like clichés.  I see someone saying the right thing because it is the thing to be said.  Never pushing the envelope but seemingly never living in the now.  Interactions with the media appear as a chore to most professionals because it grows to be one.  The winners of the Powerade Jam Fest did not reek of artificial sweetener for the media.  It was the real deal.  Just like the free reign on their physical gifts slowing being molded by their high school coaches, accelerated by college masterminds, and finally packaged for the pros, player enthusiasm and excitement could not be contained.  When Jordan Jones spoke about being blessed with the opportunity to work hard and succeed it felt real because it was real.  Three point champion Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit) reveled in the spotlight of playing the game he loved and being around others like him.  The game he loved.

Loving the game for what it is and what it can do came out the press conference.  No clichés.  No worrying about the brand.  No name dropping.  Just talking about working hard, laughing, and at times heartache.  Skill competition winner Tyler Lewis (Oak Hill Academy) remembered the risky decision to transfer so Oak Hill but also remember finding himself in the new system.  Coaching matters at this level.  Players are stars but they do not forget the role of the coach, a frequent omission of the modern day professional.  Who can blame pros who make 4 to 9 times more than coaches for believing they are worth more to the franchise?  In high school there is no franchise.  It’s the school and game.  This isn’t to say that these stars aren’t concerned about their growth and development.  Girls skills competition winner Jordan Jones (DeSoto) began to answer a question about the girl’s dominance in the skills competition and three point shootout but stopped abruptly. “I can’t tell yall that story” she stated between laughter.  Consciousness to surroundings isn’t because an agent is telling her what to say or how to say it.  It’s knowing what is for private, what is for public, and being true to self.  It’s authentic.  While the media remained cold and, to be honest, quite phony in their appearance these winners restored life to an incredibly bland canvass.  The media audience featured agents, potential agents, controlling media figures, and every entity we expect to mold happiness into business.  Despite their attempts, for now, the kids got their way.  They answered questions to who they wanted and enjoyed the one-on-one time as much as the on stage time.  I asked Morgan Tuck what she thought about the beginning of the media circus.  Her response confirmed the evident: it comes with the territory but she just loves playing with her teammates and meeting new friends going forward.

Seeing the emotions of college basketball players losing in the tournament reminds us that young people are innocent and tempers the fostered cynicism of corporate sports.  Smiles and openness of high school basketball highlights the same only the corrupting forces have not set in.  Everyone feels the professionalization on the horizon but for now it’s about having fun.  No business, just life – a much needed breath of fresh air to be enjoyed for as long as possible.

Jordan Jones, winner Skills Competition
(Courtesy of McDonalds)

Chris Paul is still a New Orleans Hornets superstar.  Paul is still the only player to average 18pts/9ast/2stl through his entire career.  He is the franchise and everyone under the sun is furious.  I suppose not everyone is upset.  Many NBA owners probably think this is a great thing.  David Stern certainly likes the idea of voiding a mega-trade because he did it.  Allow me to make the case for why I am not upset about it and, in fact, like the move for basketball related reasons for the New Orleans Hornets.

The National Basketball Association owned the Hornets and can function as owner of the Hornets despite giving autonomy to second year GM Dell Demps.  It can veto or approve trades with all teams, especially teams it actually owns which, to me, represents the premier definition of conflict of interest.  It never felt good to me and I railed on this issue earlier on my radio show agreeing with Mark Cuban’s disgust in trading Marcus Thornton and straight cash [homie] considerations to the Kings for Carl Landry.  In the article, Cuban felt the trade to be comparable to revenue sharing and unfair since the owners owned the team.  This echoes sentiments expressed Phil Jackson foreshadowing conflict in his repeated questioning of what would happen if Chris Paul wanted to leave for another team.

Well, now we know.  The league wants us to believe that Stern axed the deal for basketball related reasons not owner pressure. “It’s not true that the owners killed the deal,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “The deal was never discussed at the Board of Governors meeting and the league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons.”  Well Mr. Bass seems like a reliable source but the master of damning emails in highly unprofessional fonts seems to contradict that.  Ladies and Gentlemen Mr. Dan Gilbert’s email, courtesy of Yahoo Sports, expressed outrage over the deal but more importantly suggested that all 29 owners should vote on the deal, that most owners did not like, and focused exclusively on the Lakers. (Aside: Dan Gilbert is a goof. He became a big brat after Lebron left –which is somewhat understandable because I would be bummed and screaming eff  the world too- but has been unbearable on a good day and illogical on a bad day.  Simmons penned a very good piece on Grantland about this failed deal, Stern’s eroding power, and whiny owners that sums up how I feel.)  If I am an owner of another team, particularly an owner that felt like getting shafted by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, I would be mad as hell about the NBA shifting the prospects of basketball in favor of the already rich Lake Show.

For me, however, the issue is the principle.  As I am mad about Thronton for Landry, I am mad about any deal the league-owned Hornets make.  Why?  Because the league’s primary priority should be finding an independent owner for the team so she or he can make moves without a conflict of interest.  That is where all my anger lies.  If the NBA claimed that 2-5 owners wanted to buy the team and the league prevented the purchase because they could get a better deal and/or wanted stability in the new CBA, now is the time to get that owner.  The second that happens, they can make the same move, and it would be approved.  Boom, boom, boom.

While appearances are not reality, they make reality.  What this looks like is the league making a move, having owners backlash, and Stern preemptively taking the brunt of the punishment.  It looks like the Commish with broad power unjustifiably expanding those powers to control Front Office decisions.  People are speculating that he will control all trades to manipulate competitive balance! Conspiracy! Moon landing faked! Grassy Noll! Area 51! This is all overblown because 29 other teams have independent owners.  Get the friggin’ owner and get the trade done.

Let me also quickly address player mobility.  Credit the New Orleans Hornets (NBA?) with wanting to make a move before the season started to avoid the embarrassment of keeping a star who did not want to play in that city.  Some have thrown around the NBA players as slaves metaphor as Paul is being kept against his will.  Suffice it to say that multimillionaires with the ability to make millions elsewhere under contract does not look like a slave to me.  Still, ideally Paul should play where he likes but that should not come at the expense of the other team.  With that logic, major markets would be super huge and small markets would be talent breeding grounds.  Teams should respect player wishes, but should not forfeit the ability to rebuild going forward; if the ideal team does not have trade pieces that fit, sorry but you are not going there.  Seems fair to me.

Finally, let’s go back to basketball reasons.  As in Mr. Bass’ claim above about the league office voiding the deal.  I alluded to the conflict of interest in voiding a deal as a team owner versus voiding a deal as league commissioner but the idea of basketball reason matters given the context.  As many pointed out, the on-court basketball moves look good for all teams.    But league commissioner Stern is still concerned about selling this team to an owner for the highest value and keeping it in New Orleans.  Stern on Bloomberg News said he vetoed the trade because Chris Paul is more valuable in New Orleans.  Basketball reasons vs. value?  No!  Basketball reasons are value.  Keeping Paul may mean getting a better owner willing to keep the team there and spend money.

Or maybe not.  Who and I kidding!  While my biggest gripe are the owner-less Hornets and how it is costing Paul $30 million, this entire thing is absurd.  It sounds illegal.  I cannot in good faith defend this without thinking how crazy it is.  I do think Stern and the league did believe all that I wrote but it makes no sense.

Let summarize:

1)      League owned teams will always bring controversy!

2)      I don’t like league owned teams making trades but if you give control of the team to a person then stop butting in.

3)      Dan Gilbert is an idiot.

4)      NBA cannot stop tripping over its own feet.

5)      Still, the NBA can blow baseball out the water.

WELCOME BACK NBA!

Chris Paul is still a New Orleans Hornets superstar.  Paul is still the only player to average 18pts/9ast/2stl through his entire career.  He is the franchise and everyone under the sun is furious.  I suppose not everyone is upset.  Many NBA owners probably think this is a great thing.  David Stern certainly likes the idea of voiding a mega-trade because he did it.  Allow me to make the case for why I am not upset about it and, in fact, like the move for basketball related reasons for the New Orleans Hornets.

The National Basketball Association owned the Hornets and can function as owner of the Hornets despite giving autonomy to second year GM Dell Demps.  It can veto or approve trades with all teams, especially teams it actually owns which, to me, represents the premier definition of conflict of interest.  It never felt good to me and I railed on this issue earlier on my radio show agreeing with Mark Cuban’s disgust in trading Marcus Thornton and straight cash [homie] considerations to the Kings for Carl Landry.  In the article, Cuban felt the trade to be comparable to revenue sharing and unfair since the owners owned the team.  This echoes sentiments expressed Phil Jackson foreshadowing conflict in his repeated questioning of what would happen if Chris Paul wanted to leave for another team.

Well, now we know.  The league wants us to believe that Stern axed the deal for basketball related reasons not owner pressure. “It’s not true that the owners killed the deal,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “The deal was never discussed at the Board of Governors meeting and the league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons.”  Well Mr. Bass seems like a reliable source but the master of damning emails in highly unprofessional fonts seems to contradict that.  Ladies and Gentlemen Mr. Dan Gilbert’s email, courtesy of Yahoo Sports, expressed outrage over the deal but more importantly suggested that all 29 owners should vote on the deal, that most owners did not like, and focused exclusively on the Lakers. (Aside: Dan Gilbert is a goof. He became a big brat after Lebron left –which is somewhat understandable because I would be bummed and screaming eff  the world too- but has been unbearable on a good day and illogical on a bad day.  Simmons penned a very good piece on Grantland about this failed deal, Stern’s eroding power, and whiny owners that sums up how I feel.)  If I am an owner of another team, particularly an owner that felt like getting shafted by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, I would be mad as hell about the NBA shifting the prospects of basketball in favor of the already rich Lake Show.

For me, however, the issue is the principle.  As I am mad about Thronton for Landry, I am mad about any deal the league-owned Hornets make.  Why?  Because the league’s primary priority should be finding an independent owner for the team so she or he can make moves without a conflict of interest.  That is where all my anger lies.  If the NBA claimed that 2-5 owners wanted to buy the team and the league prevented the purchase because they could get a better deal and/or wanted stability in the new CBA, now is the time to get that owner.  The second that happens, they can make the same move, and it would be approved.  Boom, boom, boom.

While appearances are not reality, they make reality.  What this looks like is the league making a move, having owners backlash, and Stern preemptively taking the brunt of the punishment.  It looks like the Commish with broad power unjustifiably expanding those powers to control Front Office decisions.  People are speculating that he will control all trades to manipulate competitive balance! Conspiracy! Moon landing faked! Grassy Noll! Area 51! This is all overblown because 29 other teams have independent owners.  Get the friggin’ owner and get the trade done.

Let me also quickly address player mobility.  Credit the New Orleans Hornets (NBA?) with wanting to make a move before the season started to avoid the embarrassment of keeping a star who did not want to play in that city.  Some have thrown around the NBA players as slaves metaphor as Paul is being kept against his will.  Suffice it to say that multimillionaires with the ability to make millions elsewhere under contract does not look like a slave to me.  Still, ideally Paul should play where he likes but that should not come at the expense of the other team.  With that logic, major markets would be super huge and small markets would be talent breeding grounds.  Teams should respect player wishes, but should not forfeit the ability to rebuild going forward; if the ideal team does not have trade pieces that fit, sorry but you are not going there.  Seems fair to me.

Finally, let’s go back to basketball reasons.  As in Mr. Bass’ claim above about the league office voiding the deal.  I alluded to the conflict of interest in voiding a deal as a team owner versus voiding a deal as league commissioner but the idea of basketball reason matters given the context.  As many pointed out, the on-court basketball moves look good for all teams.    But league commissioner Stern is still concerned about selling this team to an owner for the highest value and keeping it in New Orleans.  Stern on Bloomberg News said he vetoed the trade because Chris Paul is more valuable in New Orleans.  Basketball reasons vs. value?  No!  Basketball reasons are value.  Keeping Paul may mean getting a better owner willing to keep the team there and spend money.

Or maybe not.  Who and I kidding!  While my biggest gripe are the owner-less Hornets and how it is costing Paul $30 million, this entire thing is absurd.  It sounds illegal.  I cannot in good faith defend this without thinking how crazy it is.  I do think Stern and the league did believe all that I wrote but it makes no sense.

Let summarize:

1)      League owned teams will always bring controversy!

2)      I don’t like league owned teams making trades but if you give control of the team to a person then stop butting in.

3)      Dan Gilbert is an idiot.

4)      NBA cannot stop tripping over its own feet.

5)      Still, the NBA can blow baseball out the water.

WELCOME BACK NBA!