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David Stern: Could've reworked CP3 deal, but Mitch Kupchak 'panicked'

Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who infamously vetoed a proposed 2011 trade that would have sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, said attempts to rework the deal at the time fell apart because then-Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak "panicked."

Appearing on the "Nunyo & Company" podcast, which was released last week, Stern discussed the veto and how the three teams involved in the trade -- the Lakers, the league-owned New Orleans Hornets and the Houston Rockets -- attempted to renew talks.

Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets.

On the podcast, Stern said he felt the trade could have been reworked but said talks fell apart when Kupchak traded Odom days after the original deal was vetoed.

"In the course of the weekend, we thought we could redo the deal," Stern said. "We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with [Kyle] Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick. Not we, but my basketball folks.

"But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn't even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it -- just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets."

Stern's veto sent shockwaves throughout the league. The general reaction among rival executives at the time was that then-Hornets general manager Dell Demps did as well as he could under the circumstances after Paul told the Hornets he would not sign a contract extension and instead planned to become a free agent.

Stern acknowledged on the podcast that there was an inherent conflict of interest in his role as NBA commissioner and as the owners' rep for the league-owned Hornets.

"Same as when Bud Selig was the owners' rep for the Montreal Expos, same as when Gary Bettman was the owners' rep for the [Arizona] Coyotes," Stern said. "I didn't favor anyone on this one. I just favored New Orleans."

Kupchak traded Odom to Dallas three days after Stern's veto, with the Lakers receiving an $8.9 million trade exception and a protected 2012 first-round pick. The Mavs also got a 2012 second-round pick.

After failing to land Paul, Kupchak's Lakers made the playoffs in 2011-12 and 2012-13 but have finished in the lottery the past four seasons. He was fired as GM in February.

Paul was traded to the Clippers one week after the veto, with the Hornets receiving Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and an unprotected 2012 first-round pick.