The New Orleans Hornets agreed to trade Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, just six after the league office -- which operates the franchise while it remains without an independent owner -- spiked a reported deal to send the All-NBA point guard to the Los Angeles Lakers. The saga that unfolded around the failed Lakers deal took on a life of its own, with e-mails from Dan Gilbert, conspiracy theories surrounding competitive balance and other items of intrigue making the rounds.
One of those narratives that has become accepted as fact is that Hornets GM Dell Demps had a deal in principle with the Lakers and Houston Rockets to send CP3 to L.A. for Lamar Odom, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin; Houston would get Pau Gasol. But in the league's conference call announcing the trade on Thursday, NBA commissioner David Stern retorted that the Lakers' deal was never considered "done" by Demps.
"Dell never thought the deal to be done, and those who said that, all for attribution off the record, were trying to force him to make that deal," Stern said Thursday. "But Dell came to us in the normal course. 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. He said, 'okay, we have a very valuable player, and let's go let's see what else we can do.'"
Demps was also on Thursday's call, but did not jump in to comment on the Lakers deal. He did say that what happened on the Hornets' side in this saga happens all over the league with respect to owners' positions on potential transactions.