12 years since Chris Paul trade to the Lakers vetoed by the NBA

Chris Paul reflects on what could have been had LA Lakers trade been approved
Looking back on the infamously vetoed Chris Paul to LA Lakers trade

Chris Paul nearly became a member of the LA Lakers in 2011. In December 2011, longtime NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Paul's Hornets and Kobe Bryant's Lakers were working to finalize a trade. The deal would have sent Paul to the Lakers, pairing him with Bryant, while the Hornets would have received quality players such as Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and Lamar Odom.

The news immediately caught the attention of the NBA community given that Chris Paul had already emerged as one of the best young guards in the league. However, the very same day when Woj reported that a deal would be happening, he indicated via an update that it had fallen through.

Fans speculated as to what could have possibly gone wrong, with reports indicating that David Stern had vetoed the move. Now, on the anniversary of the decision 12 years later, the deal remains as one of the biggest 'what ifs' in league history.

During an interview with Taylor Rooks in 2020, Chris Paul spoke about the trade, and what it would have been like if it had gone through.

"It's even crazier, uh, to think about it now. Given the situation the past few months, losing Kobe and David Stern. Man, it would've been special. You know, I'll talk about it at some point, but me and Kobe had actually got on the phone and talked about, you know, this and that ... there are times where I'll be like.
"'Man, if, this would have been...' But, you know, I can't get caught up in that. It all worked out."

Looking at what prevented the Chris Paul trade from being finalized and everything that followed

While many speculated that then-commissioner David Stern simply vetoed the trade to keep the league fair and balanced, there was more at play. The year prior to the lockout and Stern's veto, the NBA actually purchased the Charlotte Hornets from then-owners George Shinn and Gary Chouest.

As a result, back in 2010 at the time of the sale, it was announced that big, franchise-altering decisions would be reviewed by the NBA brass. The following year, when the Hornets looked to trade Paul Chris to the Lakers, the deal was deemed big enough to be put under review.

Once the trade rumors hit headlines, however, there was apparent pushback from NBA owners. At the time, owners put pressure on Stern to veto the trade. As Woj then indicated, the NBA yielded, with Commissioner David Stern shutting down the deal.

As Chris Paul indicated in his 2020 sitdown with Taylor Rooks, everything ended up working out. Although the "Point God" has been unable to capture a ring, he wound up being traded to the LA Clippers, where he has some of the best years of his career.

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Edited by John Maxwell