NBA: Chris Paul trade to Los Angeles Lakers nixed by league

Posted Dec 9, 2011 by Lynn Herrmann
The NBA has decided to nix a proposed three-team deal which would have sent New Orleans Hornets All-Star guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, setting the stage for a new round of trade rumors.
After owners and players ratified the new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, officially ending the five-month lockout, training camps and the free agency market opened on Friday, with Paul at the top of the trade rumor list.
NBA league officials have denied rumors the deal was nixed due to numerous complaints from team owners. “It's not true that the owners killed the deal, the deal was never discussed at the Board of Governors meeting and the league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons,” said Mike Bass, league spokesman, the Associated Press reports.
With the league clamping down on the proposed trade, which involved the Houston Rockets as well, a number of players start training camp wondering about their short-term living arrangements. Also a part of the proposed three-team trade were Rockets forward Luis Scola, point guard Goran Dragic, shooting guard Kevin Martin, and a first-round draft pick to the Hornets.
The Lakers would have shipped Lamar Odom to the Hornets and All-Star Pau Gasol would have headed to Houston.
Yahoo Sports reports the proposed trade was called a “travesty” by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, urging league commissioner David Stern to put the deal before the league’s 29 owners for a vote. Pointing out the financial gain the Lakers would have enjoyed had the deal been completed, Gilbert added, “I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process.” The complete email from Gilbert to Stern can be found here.
Other rumors are flying hot and heavy, with ESPN reporting the New Jersey Nets met with the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard on Thursday night, a meeting which, if it did occur, is a clear violation of the league’s tampering rules.
The San Antonio Spurs are not hiding the fact that the Richard Jefferson-era with the team is quickly closing. Known for his slashing style, Jefferson never fit in with head coach Gregg Popovich’s regimented ball-to-the-middle-first style of play. Nor did his electrifying athleticism adjust to being a spot-up three-point shooter, which Pop tried transforming RJ into. This was apparently another flaw in the mind of mainstream sports reporters who have repeatedly referred to Jefferson’s time in SA as disappointing.
Now that the collective bargaining agreement is complete, the Spurs will likely exercise a one-time amnesty clause, waiving Jefferson and his remaining three-year contract still carrying a $30.5 million price tag.
In his place, San Antonio Express News reported, could have come free agent Caron Butler, who was in the Alamo City this week for a meeting with Spurs brass which “went flawlessly,” his agent, Raymond Brothers said.
However, according to ProSports Daily, Butler has signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Adding to the reduced chance for Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to continue his love affair with the Larry O’Brien trophy are reports the Mavs Tyson Chandler is close to signing with the New York Knickerbockers. To sign Chandler, the Knicks must make salary-cap space - he’s searching for a four year, $58 million deal - so it looks like Chauncy Billups and Ronny Turiaf could be looking at new real estate.
Also rumored to be unhappy in Dallas is point guard J.J. Barea, who told ESPN on Thursday a one-year offer by Cuban “is just crazy for me.”
With the season set to begin in just two weeks, expect more rumors to surface, now that names of players with trade potential are out in the open.