Stern Wars: Free CP3

Athletes usually want to leave behind some kind of legacy. No one practices their entire life for a game with the sole intention of becoming a mediocre role player. They all obviously strive to be the best at their position. Sure, some find it much easier than others to carve that niche into history, but that’s the way this cruel world of sports works. In fact, a few greats might not even be remembered for the right reasons.

Take Favre, for example. Do you think a young fan born in the 90s will remember him as an all-time top three player, randomly reflecting on his many MVP-type moments (including the night after his father died, when he still laced up and threw for 300 and 4 TDs in the FIRST HALF)? Or will they look back and say, “Oh yea. That’s the old guy who texted his dick to a woman.”

Let’s make it a little more relevant. Peyton Manning hasn’t even been absent for an entire season and we already have people ranking Vick or Eli over him. After all, this current Colts roster that would probably lose to LSU is basically the same team that went to the Super Bowl two years ago. And if Manning played this season, I’m convinced they fall nothing short of 13 wins. That’s how great he is.

Yet, with sports, our memories fade over time. Is Lebron actually better than Jordan? Is Love the next coming of Moses? Is Jimmer going to become ’05 Iverson? Hell no (well, maybe the last one). We just NEED these things to happen in order to hold on to the past shimmering moments. And sadly, I’m currently seeing another leader quickly erase the memories we should be left with once he’s gone.

Openly admitting that I’m one of the more stubborn people you’ll ever meet, I still feel like my opinion waivers if you back up your stance well. However, there are still three arguments that you will never win.

1) The Wire was the greatest show to ever be on television. Don’t even try to budge me. It won’t work. The best acting, writing, character development, plot, etc. that this world has ever been a part of. I could go on and on about its greatness, but it’s honestly one of those things that you have to experience for yourself. Thank me later.

2) Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever. As stated earlier, just because we want Lebron to surpass all of MJs past feats to feel like we were part of history doesn’t mean he’s comparable to Jordan, let alone better . What made Michael so great wasn’t just his talent (though that definitely helped). It was his near masochist outlook on winning. We will never see another player that went home and read about himself just to prove naysayers wrong. Never. He fed off of negativity. Remember when Drexler was named the next best thing, finally heading to a championship series against Jordan, the man he was bound to topple? I don’t. I only remember 35 first half points and the infamous shoulder shrug. Remember when Malone was named MVP in ’96, even though Michael clearly had the better season? I wish I could. I only remember Jordan feeling negated, making sure to be named Finals MVP in due part to a jumper at the buzzer and the flu game. In fact, one of my favorite sports memories of all time is Jordan during Game 7 of the ’97 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers. During timeouts you could spot him standing away from the huddle, bent over with his hands on his knees, clearly gasping for air. He had absolutely nothing left. But you know what? It didn’t matter. Even though he was at the tail end of his career playing against Reggie Miller in his prime, it didn’t matter. As long as he could walk, you knew he wasn’t going to lose. And we will never see that again.

And finally, David Stern is the greatest thing to ever happen to this league. Disagree if you like, but I won’t be having any of it. He is singlehandedly responsible for broadening the NBAs audience, recruiting international players and playing exhibition games overseas in the process. He established seven new franchises over the years and created the dress code that players still use today. Sure, he’s had his fair share of terrible ideas ( a new basketball for three months , anyone?), but his list of accomplishments are definitely HOF worthy.

And this is what troubles me. After the latest series of events, there’s no way he’ll be remembered as The General, a take-shit-from-no one owner that was at one time highly respected AND laid down the law. He has slowly warped into your everyday senile grandfather in front of our very eyes. In fact, I bet he even forgets who his league owners are, reverting to naming them off one at a time as if it’s his grandchildren that he can’t remember thirty years down the road. Oh, hey Kahn. How are the Mavericks treating ya?……no? Oh, sorry. How is Dallas these days, Ainge?…..Ummm, Isiah?

Now, even the die-hard Stern supporters have admitted he’s lost it, and the Should Have Been CP3 Trade proves it.

In a legitimately fair proposed deal, the league-owned Hornets made plans to ship Chris Paul to the Lakers, who would send Gasol to the Rockets, and in return New Orleans would receive Odom (a Do It All type of player), Kevin Martin (a pure scorer…Think Monta Ellis minus the quickness), Drajic (a young guard who learned from Nash during his stint in Phoenix), Scola (a double-double on a nightly basis), and a first and second round draft pick.

Then, as if he was an angry fantasy owner that hated the fact that someone else besides him was making a deal, he nixed the trade. It didn’t matter that all three teams originally agreed in principle to the transaction, and you could argue that New Orleans was getting the better end of the deal (they would receive four projected starters: Odom, Drajic, Scola, and K-Mart. This might’ve been enough to lure West back, in which case Scola could play center with two large swingmen at his sides. Don’t know about you, but I would fear this lineup).

Instead, Stern caused a chain reaction around the league. Think about it for a second. Because of this one trade that didn’t go through, a web of events involving all other premiere free agents suddenly occurred, effecting numerous teams across the league.

The Lakers didn’t land a super duper star to play next to Kobe and whatever remaining dwindling years he had left in his prime. This sent them into a tail spin, sending the completely offended Odom to Dallas for “future trade considerations”, a term I still really don’t understand.

The Clippers quickly jumped on the Lakers mishap, offering a packaged deal to the Hornets for Paul, only to be rejected because of the “lack of equality” New Orleans would be receiving (Clippers offered a bundle that included Kaman, Aminu, an unprotected first rounder which could potentially become a top five pick, and either Eric Gordan or Eric Bledsoe. Now, if you don’t watch basketball, I can see how you might be misconstrued by the rejection of equality. But trust me when I say that the Hornets receiving Gordan AND a first is ridiculous, let alone the fact that the league wanted the Clips to throw in Bledsoe. Gordan is primed to be a stud for years to come. Add him to all those other pieces and the Hornets were receiving a more-than-worthy offer). Instead, LAC claimed Billups off amnesty, matched Jordans offer, and now sit back and wait to see if the Paul trade ever catches momentum.

The Rockets were left wondering if they would ever get Gasol, basically leaving them with a lineup of role players, no center, and a roster that no marquee free agent would want to join. Sure, Nene would have been the perfect fit, but not even the largest of cap spaces could’ve lured him to Houston without Gasol in the backcourt. Now, they sought after Dalembert to protect the paint instead of the potential franchise studs that have already come and went.

The Mavericks had received word of a bewildered Odom, basically forcing LA’s hand to send him for practically nothing. Now, instead of handing their amnesty to Haywood to clear enough room to give Chandler and Barea an offer, they receive a utility forward they can build around with their other low budget additions (Carter, West, Wright) and clear enough cap space to grab a top tier free agent next summer.

The Celtics failed to swing Rondo for CP3, eventually leading to a missed attempt at signing West, eventually settling to trade Big Baby and Wafer for Bass (leaving them with basically the same team that they’ve had for the last six seasons).

The Pacers took advantage of Bostons misfire and the Hornets lack of desire to keep an expensive roster by adding West to an already young and stout squad (which is the equivalent of Curb Season 6. Yes, it was always great, but once Leon came along it somehow got that much better ). Now stacked with a competitive roster for years to come, Indiana also seeks to add a savvy veteran (like Posey) through amnesty.

The Nets extended a max contract to Nene, who took less money to return to Denver. Now, with an owner that acts like a child that receives gift cards on Christmas morning, New Jersey has a ton of cap room they’re itching to spend and nothing to show for it. Rumored in the latest Dwight trade, though, gives them some glimpse of hope to keeping Deron beyond this season.

The Nuggets not only talked Nene into coming back, but are currently close to inking Afflalo to return as well. Add Lawson, Gallinari, and the possibility of Chandler/J.R Smith being released from China and Denver is more than prepared for a shortened season (unless Smith gets locked up in a Chinese prison. Vegas currently has this at 2/1).

The Magic shed the contracts of Arenas (which is like herpes. You’re purposely trying to get rid of it) and Richardson, originally shopping Howard to the Lakers for Bynum. But, once those talks fell through, the Dwight saga began, leaving only a few remaining suitors with the capability of landing the franchise center.

The Grizzlies took advantage of the Rockets misfortunes, signing Marc Gasol to a new deal before Houston even knew what kind of roster they would have to work with. Though rumored to trade Mayo, Memphis apparently now has full intentions of holding onto him and building upon their shocking 2011 postseason.

And The Hornets ended up the most effed no matter which way you look at it. Attempting to fill out a lineup with a rebuilt and competitive roster with guys that actually wanted to play there, while simultaneously reaching the cap floor, has been everything but impossible. The imposed will of the NBA has basically chased away West, distanced Paul from his current team, and left the Hornets with……Ariza, Jarret Jack, and Okafor (I really had no clue about those guys. THAT’s how important Paul is to them). Now, we’ll most likely end up watching an unhappy superstar (who is possibly the best teammate in the league) put together a magical year with no intentions of playing for the crowd that he’s currently in front of.

And all because of one vetoed trade.

All because Stern has completely fallen off his rocker. And you can’t convince me otherwise.

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