No Chris Paul trade for Golden State. You heard it here last. Instead, the Lakers completed a CP3 deal that got revoked via David Stern fiat.
Look, I get why Stern was against CP3’s intentions. It’s total madness to let players decide team fates. That’s the job of bouncing ping pong balls, obviously.
Then again, what the NBA did on 12/8/2011 was so rash, so aromatically nutty, that it broadened the scope of what could happen. What if Stern wakes up and declares Milwaukee the pre-emptive 2012 NBA Finals winner? What if he announces this to medieval trumpet sounds while wearing a suit made of fruit rollups? And the players…what if they strike? As the philosopher Kevin Maurice Garnett once sagely bellowed, “Anything is possible.”
More is possible in the broader sense, but less is possible for Golden State player prospecting. A hefty Tyson Chandler offer? Nope. Ellis for CP3? Not nearly as enticing as the 8th seed bait offered by Houston via Los Angeles.
Tim Kawakami sees baby steps in yesterday’s feverish futility and I certainly feel that angle. They finally tried to decide Monta vs. Steph. They finally spent big bucks in pursuit of a plan.
But you have to wonder after these missed tries. If GSW had gotten CP3, would Chandler have come to Oakland? Golden State did have the opportunity to swap Steph for Chris before Stern facilitated this Lakers fiasco. Indirectly, GSW spawned what could possibly become the largest controversy in league history.
Why did they miss?
I think it comes down to two choices, likely a combination of both: 1. They were scared to take a Chris Paul rental, for fear of his fleeing and 2. They got cute trying to squeeze an Ellis-centric deal from New Orleans.
For the sake of this team, I hope it’s more the latter than the former. Because, if this league is going to be so governed by location desirability, it is incumbent on this franchise to boldly alter what “Golden State” means. I liked the idea of taking a Chris Paul “rental,” because it was a move of confidence from a team in need of some paradigm shifting. The prospective trade conveyed, “We think Chris Paul will sign here, because we are now a place to be.”
And this is precisely how Lacob should feel had the Warriors gotten a Chandler-Lee-Wright-Ellis-Paul lineup. If you provide a title-contending team in a big market, why should your superstar bail for less cash? If you fret over the possibility of his departure, you’ve already lost. Fortune favors the bold.
Part of what bothered me regarding the Lakers-trade backlash was the lack of respect for LA’s strategy. They risked immensely in trading Pau Gasol for a Chris Paul rental. They bet on themselves in a way others wouldn’t. It’s a smaller risk due to their brand, but it’s also why their brand is their brand. While so much focus is devoted to their “big market” advantage, this move was also a lore leveraging. LA wasn’t offering Chris Paul more money; they were offering an established, attractive tradition. They were offering a history-steeped aura that, say, the Clippers could not touch.
Though the Lakers may have given up too much in this trade, the bold stroke is a good model for Lacob. GSW must “act as if,” as the cliche goes. It need not be an Oscar performance–Northern California is scenic and populous. Moving the team to San Francisco is a step towards a positive self re-invention, too. The task at hand: Wake the slumbering Bay Area market while selling that incredible market to franchise-propelling talent. If you build it…