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David Stern reveals that he thought Lakers would rework 2011 Chris Paul trade

David Stern

The Los Angeles Lakers, in the early December of 2011, thought they had acquired All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the then-New Orleans Hornets in a huge blockbuster deal.

However, all of that quickly diminished with then-NBA commissioner David Stern playing spoiler on the trade due to the Hornets being in league control without an owner in place at the time of the proposed transaction. This created much disdain toward Stern’s actions because he had essentially blocked the Lakers from adding Paul to the mix.

With that all now in complete hindsight, Stern stated during a recent interview for the Nunyo & Company podcast that he believed Los Angeles was going to rework the deal to land Paul.

“In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.”

It was a completely complex trade that saw it form into a three-team deal with the Hornets, Lakers, and Houston Rockets. This would have sent Pau Gasol to the Rockets, Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, and a first-round pick to New Orleans. Meanwhile, Los Angeles would have only received Paul.

The Lakers’ decision to trade Odom put the possibility of working out another deal down the drain. Remember, he was coming off one of his best individual seasons winning the Sixth Man of the Year award.

The trade would have changed the fortunes of each of the franchises with big-name players being shipped to different teams. For the Lakers, it could have given them a powerhouse pairing with Paul in the backcourt alongside Kobe Bryant. This, coupled with the move to get Dwight Howard several months after, could have made them a championship contender.

However, it’s only one of those scenarios looked back upon as what could have been. This is still something that draws the ire from many Lakers fans, especially with Paul calling Staples Center home as a member of the L.A. Clippers.