These are strange times in the NBA. Strange times, indeed. We want to believe this whole fiasco revolving around the Chris Paul-to-the-L.A. Clippers trade is over. But we know, and y’all know, it isn’t. That’s what happens when a league is forced to trade one of its most visible and valuable assets. That’s what happens when there are accusations someone screwed around with the amnesty waiver process to make sure Chauncey Billups ended up a Clipper. That’s what happens when reporters ask a GM from Houston who thought he had a trade done last week, to comment on what exactly happened and the man backs off saying he isn’t allowed to speak on it. That’s what happens when league representatives appoint a man to run basketball operations for a team, and then step in at the last minute, completely overrule him, and then act later on like they were in agreement the whole time. This whole situations reeks of something nasty. As Adrian Wojnarowski writes, the CP trade stained the NBA’s credibility. We feel for Dell Demps. He was never told about the NBA’s stance on what they deemed a fair deal. He wanted the playoffs, coming from a place like San Antonio where winning is everything. Demps felt he needed a deal to keep the Hornets in the playoffs for the fans’ sake. Stern let him go on negotiating knowing full well he would never approve of the trade, if only to save his league from the perception of another super team. Then after the deal was torched, as Wojnarowski writes, the NBA started to leak things about Demps to the media in an attempt to destroy his credibility. Too bad we will never hear from Demps on what exactly went down. Not unless the man wants to be fired for good. The final straw was the night of CP’s trade to the Clippers, Stern forced Demps to listen in on a conference call where Stern told the media the two of them were on the same page all along and that Demps and the rest of the Hornets never thought the initial Houston/Laker/Hornet deal was done. Yeah, okay. The bottom line isn’t that one deal was nixed and the other felt contrived. It was how it played out, and the subsequent effects of it. We will never know whether the NBA clearly tampered with the amnesty waiver wire to get Billups to the Clippers. But the accusations are there, and when you see the Clippers finally agree to move Eric Gordon only after they land Billups… well, you can connect the dots … Meanwhile, we had the chance to chat with the TNT crew yesterday – Shaq, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson – and Barkley thinks there is a legitimate question now on who the best team in L.A. is. What the Clippers need most of all are shooters. If they could land one or two shooters to complement Paul’s passing – and while we love Billups, we doubt he can go full-time as a two – it’ll be a nightmare to guard that team with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan turning games into “lob city” … As for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant is blaming the other owners in the league for how screwed up the team is now, saying many of them didn’t want to see the Lakers get another star. But Bryant says at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. They’ll have to play with the guys they have, and even though he can’t wait to see what the Clippers got, he believes the Lakers are fine. That’s on the outside. On the inside, Stephen A. Smith says Kobe is pissed with the organization and how the team is regressing, and get this, may demand a trade. Even Ric Bucher said he wouldn’t be surprised if Bryant demands a trade within the next month … And new coach Mike Brown is making his stamp already. He says Metta World Peace will not be starting this year. It’ll come down to Matt Barnes, Luke Walton or Devin Ebanks. Brown wants MWP to bolster the second lineup instead … Josh Howard has signed with the Jazz (meaning Andrei Kirilenko won’t be back), and Carl Landry was re-signed for a year at almost $9 million in New Orleans almost immediately after the CP deal became official … The Pacers are still looking for bench scoring, and according to Mike Wells, they are going after Michael Redd … Keep reading to hear Garnett call out Stern and Dwight Howard call for a trade …
Smack / Dec 16, 2011 / 12:00 am
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