Thursday was a bit of a roller coaster for Lakers' fans. The NBA was officially back in business - Commish David Stern announced that the owners and players had ratified a collective bargaining agreement, the final step to ending the five-month lockout - and teams could open training camps on Friday. The free-agency period for the 2011-12 season began at 11 a.m. PST.
By mid-day, most of Los Angeles was celebrating the fact that the Hornet's Chris Paul (aka CP3) was seemingly on his way to town as part of a three team trade. Considered by many the most dynamic point guard since Magic Johnson, Paul would have joined Kobe Bryant in the Lakers' backcourt. As part of the deal, Lakers' center and four-time All Star Pao Gasol was traded to the Houston Rockets and Kloe Kardashian's husband, Lamar Odom, who won the league's Sixth Man of the Year award last season, was headed to New Orleans. Most Lakers' fans were ecsatatic. My husband could hardly contain his enthusiasm.
At 6:11 p.m. PST Chris Paul tweeted "WoW." He wasn't, however, referring to his impending move. He was reacting to the fact that the NBA nixed the trade citing "basketball reasons." Though most people I know shrugged their shoulders when asked to explain "basketball reasons," sources say that team owners killed the deal. The real reason appears to be that the NBA - who currently owns the small market Hornets and is looking for a buyer - didn't want the trade to go down. If that sounds like a conflict of interest, it probably is.
Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom (left) and Pao Gasol Credit Image: © San Gabriel Valley Tribune/ZUMApress.com
So by dinnertime, the same fans that were jumping on their desks earlier were crushed. The Lakers hoped to appeal to the NBA office, but there is a problem: The NBA considered the trade to have been blocked by New Orleans (which is owned by the NBA), not the league itself. Are you following all of this?
In a phone interview with the LA Times, Odom said he was sad to hear he was practically traded to New Orleans and wasn't sure he would attend practice Friday:
You don't want to go to no place you're not wanted. I'll try to give them what they want as much as possible. Odom said.
Pao Gasol was said to be devasted by the potential trade. He came to Los Angeles halfway through the 2009 season and is largely credited with helping the Lakers win back-to-back NBA championships. He had a rough past season though and the city's love affair with the lanky Spaniard waned. Now he's faced with the uncomfortable task of showing up to practice for a team that doesn't want him. Awkward.
So that's why I feel bad for Pao and Lamar. Sports can be cruel.
Pao showed up for practice but reportedly has a strained quad and is listed day to day. Lamar was a no show.
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