On Thursday, David Stern vetoed the league-owned New Orleans Hornets' trade sending Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers within hours of players and owners voting to lift the NBA lockout. That combination of events has Chris Clark from SB Nation's Silver Screen And Roll wistful for the stoppage, and wondering if another one is on the way.
David Stern made this decision because the world isn't fair. Los Angeles is a destination where most players, especially superstar players, want to play. The Lakers are a franchise steeped in successful history, and that success has created an environment that only promotes further success. The Lakers are virtually immune to the market factors that normally force sports teams to go through cycles of success and failure. They have financial resources far beyond most of the rest of the league, and unlike the Mark Cubans and Paul Allens of the world, Jerry Buss is able to utilize those resources without cutting into his bottom line. The Lakers paid more money in luxury tax than any other team last year, and yet were one of the few that reported a profit. They've been to the NBA Finals 50% of the time the Finals have been held, and they've won 25% of the league's championships. With Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant on their team, and the potential of Dwight Howard on the way, there would be no end in sight to the Lakers' period of success. David Stern had to block this trade to maintain the illusion of fairness, of competitive balance, that he and his brethren just spent 5 months carving out of the players' backs.
There's just one problem ... the owners traded away that fairness for the chance to line their pockets with a few extra billions. And on the far side of Stern's decision, I can't see how the players can continue to abide by the arrangement.
For more reaction and analysis, head over to Silver Screen And Roll.