The Chris Paul trade saga is behind us, but the stench it leaves behind still lingers. Especially if, you know, the Chris Paul trade saga set back your franchise for about three years.
...To Houston we go!
Sunday's Houston Chronicle reports, an anonymous Rockets official says it's an "outright lie" that the Chris Paul-Pau Gasol trade was anything but a done deal before David Stern vetoed it.
In case you forgot, David Stern has said that the trade sending Chris Paul to the Lakers was never actually completed. In other words, Stern never actually vetoed the deal, then. In Stern's eyes, at least. "Dell never thought the deal to be done," the commissioner said last week. "He was presenting lots of different options and opportunities. He then presented this one to Jac and me, and we said that we weren't ready to sign off on that one at that time."
The Houston executive tells a different version of the events. Again from The Chronicle:
"He said that David was briefed and that it was a done deal. (Demps) said multiple times that he briefed both of his local officials, (Hornets president) Hugh Webber and (Hornets chairman) Jac Sperling, and they and Dell at regular intervals were updating (NBA vice presidents) Stu Jackson and Joel Litvin and that they told David himself throughout the day. Also, Hugh and Jac, who were updating the league office, understood it to be a deal."
There's also this, regarding Houston owner Les Alexander after the trade veto:
Alexander tried to speak directly with Stern after the deal was originally nixed and again as Morey, Demps and Kupchak tried to rebuild the deal, but he did not get a returned call until after the Lakers had pulled out of the discussions.
In other words, Stern basically treated the Houston Rockets like they didn't exist, and Les Alexander became the NBA's crazy ex-girlfriend. [/Cut to Stern discreetly pressing ignore on all incoming calls].
Keep in mind: While the rest of the league has moved on and last week's skeptical fans are suddenly thrilled about Chris Paul in a Clippers uniform, the Rockets and Lakers are still left picking up the pieces after David Stern and the NBA A) killed the value of their biggest trade chips, B) ruined their team chemistry for 2012 and C) completely lied about all of it.
If the NBA were a family, this would be dirty secret that hangs in the air awkwardly during the holidays. David Stern is the father, and Les Alexander and Jerry Buss would be the jilted sons, muttering bitterly in the corner. Can't wait to hear how the next owners' meetings go!