Man, 2011 feels like another lifetime ago doesn't it? I'm not sure if it's the quarantine brain or what but I feel like this whole CP3 trade fiasco went down no fewer than 25 years ago. Remember that shit? Now personally, I was a huge fan of David Stern's decision at the time. Anything that could prevent prime Chris Paul from pairing up with Kobe was A OK in my book. For those who don't remember, this was back when the league owned and ran the Hornets which is a whole separate shady issue and a ton of small markets like the Cavs flipped their shit over a potential deal that would strengthen the Lakers and save them a ton of money. Basically the agreed to package was
Hornets get: Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic
Rockets get: Pau Gasol
Lakers get: Chris Paul
OK so in hindsight maybe it wasn't that bad. People may forget but Kevin Martin could score, Lamar Odom was still pretty good and Dragic turned out to be a pretty serviceable point guard. You compare that to what David Stern actually accepted
Hornets get: Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, MIN 2012 1st rd pick (unprotected)
That's gross and not even remotely close to the original trade in terms of a return. That picked turned out to be Austin Rivers too by the way. You'll then remember that NO was pretty terrible that year and somehow ended up with the #1 pick, which they used to selected Anthony Davis. What a coincidence! Who could imagine the league doing New Orleans a favor after losing a franchise player. When has that happened? Oh.....right. That rejected trade is also what caused Houston to pivot and trade for James Harden, so as you can see there are a ton of ripple effects from that one decision.
It's no coincidence that CP3 is still playing the what if game had that trade actually happened. Him and Kobe would have been pretty terrifying, you get the sense that they are cut from the same cloth in terms of being a competitor. Paul mentioned that 2009 All Star game, and yeah they looked pretty good together
I think it's fair to say this might be one of the biggest NBA what ifs in history, not just in terms of what it could have meant for the Lakers, but how the decision ended up impacting a shit ton of franchises and honestly the league we know and love today. Again, I'm thankful he did it because the Lakers can go screw, but that might have been Paul's best chance at a ring and now we'll never know.