Friday, December 16, 2011
David Stern is a Genius!
Like most of you reading this, I was in absolute shock about the Chris Paul trade that never was to the LA Lakers. Although I'm not a Lakers fan, I pictured in my head how Kobe Bryant would function with a top tier point guard. Simply put, it would've been unfair. Naturally, the Jordan comparisons popped in my head. Remember, Jordan never played with a dominant center or a high quality point guard... although it could be argued that Jordan and Pippen were the "true" point guards for the Chicago Bulls. Taking nothing away from Kobe AT ALL but for many years, he had a dominant force in Shaquille O'Neal at center. And if the Paul trade to the Lakers went down, he would've had arguably the current best point guard in the game in the backcourt with him. Scary, especially considering the Lakers were aggressively pursuing Dwight Howard, as well. The potential Howard trade faded away but at the forefront stood the Chris Paul trade in big, bold purple and gold letters. I was sucked in. I mean, how could you not be? Several NBA team owners (mostly of the small market variety) complained. Of course, the ringleader was Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert, who's clearly still bitter about LeBron James bolting Cleveland for Miami (picture that) during last year's free agent sweepstakes. He even sent NBA commissioner David Stern an email saying, "It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed." After the trade appeared to go through, it was rejected just a couple of hours later to this dismay of Lakers fans... and probably many fans of the NBA, period. Stern was destroyed in the press and some even called for his resignation. While fans and press worldwide continue to voice their displeasure, emerging out of the shadows were... the Los Angeles Clippers. WHAT??? You mean the "other" team that plays in the Staples Center? After nearly gang assaulting the Clippers for what seemed like their entire roster, a deal was finally reached. CP3 was headed to Los Angeles... just not in the uniform we expected. At first, I was confused like many of you were. But then... I SAW THE LIGHT! DAVID STERN DID THIS SH** ON PURPOSE! This was his way of saying screw you owners, screw you players, screw you fans and anybody else in the way. Think about it... Stern, who's now overseen four NBA lockouts during his 27-year tenure as commissioner, was fed up. He was tired of owners complaining about players wanting too much money. He was tired of players complaining owners make too much money. Everyone knows he's been drunk off power for years. But despite his many detractors, Stern has done tremendous things to advance his league on a global level. The NBA has 11 offices OUTSIDE of the United States. Games are televised in 215 countries across the world and 43 languages. And 28 new NBA arenas have been built since he became commissioner. The NBA is literally a multi-billion dollar industry. In other words, this isn't exactly Stern's first rodeo. So instead of letting Paul go to one of the most successful ran organizations in the history of sports, he decided to let Paul go to perhaps the worse organization of all time in any sport. Crazy, right? But guess what... The Clippers are building a TEAM. You throw Chris Paul in the mix with a budding superstar in Blake Griffin, free agent Caron Butler, and 2004 NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups and you have a pretty solid nucleus. Like it or not, they're instantly a championship contender. I'm not saying they're gonna win it this year but anything's possible in this lockout shortened 66 game regular season. Remember the lockout shortened 50 game season from 1999? The now defunct Seattle SuperSonics missed the playoffs that year after winning 61 games and a Pacific Division title the season before. That same season, the eighth seeded New York Knicks shocked the No. 1 seed Miami Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and eventually advanced to the NBA Finals. You can almost expect several key injuries and a few surprise teams throughout the league this season with 66 games being played in 120 days so conditioning will be key. But Paul becoming a Clipper makes a natural rivalry with the Lakers, as the mere thought of that reigning true had been an absolute joke for years. It generates more interest and optimism in an already basketball crazed town and perhaps steals some headlines from that "other" team that shares a lease with them in the Staples Center. In my opinion, Stern can sit back and put his feet up on his desk, spark up a Cuban cigar, and pour a couple of shots of Grey Goose. By allowing Paul to go the Lakers and NOT the Clippers, Stern may have made one of his best decisions in years. This will be one of the most exciting seasons in recent NBA history. Even a biased football fan like me will have to pay attention now.