On the heels of a 149-day lockout, we knew a compacted NBA offseason could lead to a few more surprises than usual. But no crystal ball could have predicted what took place on Thursday and Friday, two days unlike any others in the NBA's long history.
Follow the life cycle of the blockbuster trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers:
Dec. 8, 2011
2 p.m. ET:: SI.com reports discussions of three-team trade between the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets.
5:58 p.m. ET: Yahoo! reports, "The Hornets are near a deal to send Chris Paul to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom," later amended to Pau Gasol in place of Bynum.
6:20 p.m. ET: ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports the full details of the deal, as constructed: Chris Paul to the Lakers; Pau Gasol to the Rockets; and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round draft pick (from Houston) to the Hornets.
8:50 p.m. ET: Stein reports, "Trade with Lakers will NOT go through Friday and Chris Paul is expected in Hornets camp, according to sources."
9:01 p.m. ET: NBA spokesman Tim Frank says the "league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons."
9:11 p.m. ET: Chris Paul responds via Twitter: "WoW"
10:30 p.m. ET: Lamar Odom responds via Twitter: "When a team trades u and it doesn't go down? Now what?"
Dec. 9, 2011
12:11 a.m. ET: Yahoo! reports on an email from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to NBA commissioner David Stern, criticizing the trade.
9:43 a.m. ET: Stein reports the three teams involved in the trade are asking the league to allow it to happen.
12:13 p.m. ET: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM comes out in support of Stern's decision to deny the trade.
1:36 p.m. ET: The NBA releases Stern's official statement explaining why the trade was vetoed.
3:42 p.m. ET: Yahoo! reports New Orleans, Houston and Los Angeles re-engage in trade talks to complete the deal.
5:07 p.m. ET: ESPN's Chris Broussard and Marc Stein report the NBPA tells the NBA if a suitable Chris Paul trade is not made by Monday, it will pursue other options, including litigation.
Dec. 10, 2011
12:45 p.m. ET: ESPN's Chris Broussard and Marc Stein report a deal between New Orleans, Houston and the L.A. Lakers has been reworked and resubmitted to the league office for approval.
11:50 p.m. ET: ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Lakers pulled out of the three-team trade for Paul.
Dec. 11, 2011
11:10 p.m. ET: The Los Angeles Times reports that the Clippers and Hornets are close to a deal that would send Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and the Timberwolves' unprotected No. 1 draft pick to New Orleans for Paul.
Dec. 12, 2011
12:46 p.m. ET: ESPN's Chris Broussard and Marc Stein report that the Clippers have submitted the proposed deal to the Hornets, only with shooting guard Eric Gordon, not Eric Bledsoe, headed to New Orleans. The NBA, however, is pushing for the inclusion of Bledsoe as well.
2:13 p.m. ET: The once seemingly imminent trade between the Clippers and Hornets has collpased, report Broussard and Stein, because the Hornets' asking price was too high.
D.J. Foster is a contributor to the TrueHoop Network, Clipperblog and ESPN L.A.