Chris Paul to the Lakers, the aborted trade that would have turned the NBA upside down

Imagine the best defense zone possible in the early 2010s. Kobe Bryant in position two, without a doubt. He was then the most dominant basketball player on the planet with Lebron James. Champion and MVP of the finals in 2009 and 2010. She Ages, yes, but terribly strong.

And in the end, there too, little hesitation. Chris Paul. The “God Point”. The reference in the subject. Well, this duo should have done wonders for the Los Angeles Lakers. The fantasy had come true. And for a few hours, fans of the Hollywood franchise began to dream.

until david stern springs into action. December 2011. The NBA has just emerged from a months-long lockout and a new CBA has just been drafted and ratified. Relief. An agreement that would supposedly allow small markets not to be suffocated by the giants of the championship. The teams are slowly preparing for the restart, scheduled for January. Then the news hit like a bombshell: The New Orleans Hornets sent Chris Paul to the Lakers on a three-organization trade.

Two of the best players on the planet are now united under the same robe. The ideal fans of the Miami Heat by Lebron James, Chris Bosch Y Dwyane Wade. California fans rejoice, others cringe. And not just enthusiasts. But also leaders of other clubs.

Angelenos give in anyway paul gasol -perhaps his most effective player- to the Houston Rockets in the deal. Kevin Martin, luis school, Lamar Odon, goran dragic and a 2012 draft pick are sent to New Orleans. An interesting counterpart for CP3, anyway at the end of the following year’s contract. But there is a catch.

Yes dell dempsthe Hornets’ general manager, engineered the trade, the Louisiana franchise has been temporarily in NBA hands since former owner George Shinn sold the organization to the league for $300 million in 2010. While waiting for a new buyer and therefore a new owner, is david stern, the commissioner, who is in charge with the president of the team. Delicate.

The boss then decides to break the transfer. Assure him that it is only for sporting reasons. But then it’s rumored behind the scenes that several franchise managers aren’t happy to see a second invincible army forming in the West. They fear being left behind. Especially just after the signing of a collective agreement that was to ensure the balance of the championship.

This trade is a joke. even pointed out dan gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in an email. ” And I know a lot of franchise owners think like me. »

David Stern had a double limit. Was he really able to focus only on leading the Hornets at that point? This obviously seems unlikely. He defended himself by assuring that this exchange -accepted by the GM of NO however- did not make sense and that it was preferable to stay with Chris Paul. Against his will? The point guard wanted to leave anyway and he had warned his employers that he would not stay once his contract expired in 2012.

Aborted Chris Paul trade to Lakers: David Stern accuses Mitch Kupchak

The Lakers, Rockets and even the Hornets pushed for the trade to go through anyway. Proof that, from a sporting point of view, all the parties involved were very interested. But in vain. Finally, a few days later, Paul was shipped to Los Angeles…Clippers. And there again, the case almost collapsed. The Clips dropped noticeably because the Hornets were asking for too many assets. So they finally agreed 48 hours later.

eric gordon, chris kaman, Al Farouq Aminu and the first round Timberwolves (2012, without protection) served as a bargaining chip. The beginning of a new era, that of “Lob City”. The end of an era for the Lakers, who then bet on Dwight Howard Y steve nash… with the failure we know.

This transfer to the Purple and Gold could have changed the league. CP3 was especially upset after it was cancelled. Because he was already boiling over the idea of ​​playing with Kobe Bryant. Furthermore, the two men had already called each other and started discussing how they would shine together. With Andrew Bynum At his side, he had a dominant center (All-Star at the time!) to form an elite trio.

Afterwards, there is a kind of fantasy about the real possibilities of this hypothetical team. One, Kobe was coming somewhere near the end even though he was still monstrous before his Achilles injury. But the physical failures were already accumulating, the tiredness too and he defended himself much less. Bynum was a very promising young man, but then we saw that his lack of desire took over. In the end, I’m not sure this “Big Three” made any sparks in the long run.

The firing window would have been quite short. Because a potential dynasty was developing in the West with Kevin Durant, james harden Y russell westbrook still together in oklahoma city. The Thunder beat Bryant and the Gasol Lakers 4-1 in the 2012 Conference Semifinals. What would have been the outcome of the series with Chris Paul? And even if the Angels had passed, the Heat trio of James, Wade and Bosh still looked stronger. On the other hand, one may wonder if the association of Kobe and Paul might not have helped the leaders bring in a third star at the time.

Chris Paul’s aborted trade to the Lakers at the root of Lamar Odom’s downfall?

The truth is that the aborted transfer plunged Lamar Odom into the abyss. The luxury sixth man felt good in the Lakers. He found himself disoriented, unwanted…” they don’t love me anymore he said just after the league broke the deal. He eventually got traded to the Dallas Mavericks and got into drugs. He before passing near death from an overdose a few years later.

Title or not, the arrival of Chris Paul to the Lakers would have turned the NBA landscape upside down at the time. And so probably today. An exchange that could have altered the entire decade.

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