Gilbert Arenas Had Quite The Explanation As To Why David Stern Blocked The Famous Chris Paul/Lakers Trade
I don't know much, but I know that when Gilbert is telling NBA stories, you listen. If the topic is one of the biggest "what ifs" in recent memory, that's even more true. It feels like the CP3 to the Lakers fiasco happened in a different lifetime, but it was only 10 years ago. Think of how much has changed in the NBA since December 2011. I remember I was at my company holiday party at the time (shoutout Brafton) and couldn't believe what my phone was telling me. Think of how many legacies change if that trade actually goes through. The NBA as we know it is probably completely different.
But back to Arenas' story of how it all went down. Part of me is skeptical, but then again if he was actually going to be involved in this trade I'm pretty sure he would know the deal from his agent. Here I was thinking the reason David Stern blocked that trade because as the owner of the franchise at the time he never signed off on it, despite Dell Demps telling everyone involved they had a deal. That's probably bullshit to some degree, so I bet the truth is somewhere in the middle. But let's take Gilbert at his word. I'm no cap expert, but that seems a little crazy that they could have all those players and still have that sort of cap space. Also, since when is the league in the business of making sure the Lakers aren't dominant? Something tells me business is good for the league when the Lakers are good and winning championships. That's how it's been my entire life. So David Stern blocked that trade because....they'd be...too good? I dunno about that.
The only thing that makes me think Arenas might be telling the truth here is the fact that Chris Paul was traded like two seconds after Stern vetoed the Lakers deal. He was traded to the Clippers just 6 days later. So it wasn't like Stern rejected the Paul to the Lakers trade because they were trying to sell the Hornets and wanted CP3 in the mix. He was literally traded a week later. It's certainly possible that Stern wanted to help the Clippers become actual contenders because having two really good teams in a big market in LA is certainly better for the league than just the Lakers being unbeatable.
In my opinion, the rest of the owners probably threw a temper tantrum that CP3 was going to go to the Lakers and David Stern listened, took the stance that they were just trying to do the best thing for the franchise and bring in the best package (which is questionable), all while hiding behind this idea of competitive balance. Things worked out OK for the league I suppose, but as we know the Lakers went another decade before winning a title and CP3 is still looking for his first. Something tells me neither of those things are true today if that trade happens.