The night of The Decision, I was blown away at the vitriol surrounding LeBron James. He didn't play where you wanted him to play. He had a TV show. Bummer. It still amazes me how fired up that makes people. I wrote a post asking people to name the crimes of LeBron James.
I feel the same way today. When I first heard about this Chris Paul thing, my first thought was "oh please, this is a freaking speed bump compared to canceling almost a quarter of the season, which he just did. Or the Donaghy thing. Or so much more. This is nothing to David Stern."
But again, the amazing mountain of vitriol. I'm having a hard time finding anybody who thinks he might have just vetoed the trade because he didn't think it was a good deal.
What we have here is a situation where lots of people can imagine he did something creepy, for reasons I still don't understand. (I've seen accusations that he did this both to help and to hurt the Lakers. I'm confused.) The idea, though, is that he was not acting strictly as the owner of the Hornets when he vetoed that trade. He was acting, say his accusers, with some other goals.
Maybe David Stern is a more corrupt version of Darth Vader.
What's troublesome is the gaping chasm where there should be evidence. I believe you have to do your homework before you make accusations. If you're going to call somebody a fraud, you owe them the hard work of first ruling out the possibility they might be genuine.
NBA GMs will tell you a huge percentage of the deals they put together are killed by ownership for nonsensical, or even suspicious, reasons. Billionaires are like that! This deal died the way the vast majority of NBA deals die, with an owner saying "that's not good enough for me" for his own personal reasons.
What was weird this time around was that it was all so public. Without the information age, this whole story would never have existed. It would have been like most trade talks -- dead before it got to the finish line.
I don't know what happened here. But I do know that if David Stern did something sinister, nobody has presented any evidence of such. I'm not even sure anyone is looking.