Stern Declines Comment On Events Leading To Chris Paul Trade, Says Demps Was Kept Informed
NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday declined to comment "about the assertion that Stern did not tell the truth in describing the events prior to his decision to disallow the three-team trade involving the Rockets, Lakers and Hornets," according to Jonathan Feigen of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Stern told reporters last week he had only been "generally informed about the discussions with teams" before he was presented with the proposed trade. Stern also said that Hornets GM Dell Demps "never thought the deal was complete." But sources said that Stern "was kept informed throughout the process and that Demps and other Hornets officials believed the deal to have been completed before Stern chose not to allow it to go through" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/19). In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote Stern "has never been a commissioner who cares about perception, but his delicate treatment of the situation in New Orleans is definitely worth noting." While some NBA observers "suggested contraction may be the best method for solving the league’s financial problems, the commissioner has made it clear he plans to ensure the Hornets thrive, even if that means widespread criticism from other owners" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/18).
BUYING LOCAL: A New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE editorial stated in return for trading G Chris Paul to the Clippers, the Hornets "are getting great assets to build for the long-term." The editorial: "There's no denying, though, that in Chris Paul the Hornets are losing their biggest fan draw and an electrifying player. ... Hornets fans made a strong commitment to the team this offseason, buying more than 10,000 season tickets. Mr. Stern cited that show of support as he vowed to pursue what's best for the team. The commissioner has proven his commitment to our region. He was instrumental in the Hornets returning after Hurricane Katrina and in bringing the 2008 All-Star Game to New Orleans. Mr. Stern also got the NBA owners to buy the team when then-Hornets owner George Shinn wanted out a year ago" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 12/16). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote the NBA "never should have bought the Hornets," it should have "folded the franchise." Stern has said that the Hornets "will be sold in the first half of next year." A source said, "The way they're marketing it, they definitely want to keep the team in New Orleans. But finding a local buyer will be tough. There are not that many people in New Orleans who can afford it. More likely, you'd have to go to Houston to find someone. Maybe there will be someone from overseas" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/18).