The Pelicans, taken aback, rushed out a statement defending the honor and skill of their front-office leadership.
Statement from the New Orleans Pelicans pic.twitter.com/Ywzpd5M3N4
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 24, 2018
The 76-year-old former NBA Commissioner continues to defend his highly-controversial decision to nix Chris Paul’s trade to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Stern says he was “protecting the then Hornets.”
Took nine months – he deemed the idea "ridiculous" – but David Stern finally let me sorta-shadow him for a day. Here, a look at his next act, full of emojis, diatribes, and visions of a very different sports futurehttps://t.co/Kk5hsNErOG
— Chris Ballard (@SI_ChrisBallard) October 24, 2018
Per Sports Illustrated:
How about Chris Paul, whose trade to the Lakers, Stern vetoed in 2011 during his time as de facto owner of the New Orleans franchise (then the Hornets, now the Pelicans)? “I didn’t do a great job of explaining it at the time. There was a trade that [New Orleans GM] Dell Demps wanted us to approve and I said heck no, but he had told [Rockets GM] Daryl Morey and [then Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak he had authority to do it and he didn’t. I said no. We just settled a lockout and you want me to approve a basketball trade?”
The reaction was swift but Stern held firm. “[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that…. And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”
Stern continues: “I did it because I was protecting the then Hornets…. To this day everyone always asks me, ‘Well why did you keep Chris Paul from going to the Lakers?’ I didn’t keep him. I didn’t approve the trade. No team sells or trades a future Hall of Famer without the owner signing off, and I was the owner’s rep. But I wasn’t going to hand up Dell Demps.” After this, Stern goes on for a bit before returning to what he sees as the irony. “Now when DeMarcus Cousins signs with Golden State, then the great unwashed Twitter says, ‘Adam Silver should be like Stern and stop him from going.’ Oh, O.K., guys, that’s great! Right? That’s ridiculous. Step up, strap on a set. It’s stupid.”