I don't understand why anyone, except for possibly Dell Demps, has a problem with what went down Chris Paul. These are the facts as I understand them.
1. The Hornets have exactly 30 owners.
2. Each one of them also owns another basketball team. That means that no major decision whatsoever regarding the Hornets could be made without conflict of interest.
3. Collusion is a nefarious word for joint decision making. What do you call it when 30 people with a jointly held asset have an internal power struggle before they decide what to do with it? I would call it "management."
4. A critical number of those owners either (a) thought that the Hornets could do better than the Lakers offer, or (b) did not want the Lakers to have Chris Paul.
5. The owners who thought (a) were absolutely correct.
6. Those owners absolutely did what was best for the Hornets.*
* If I were a Hornets fan, I would be ecstatic that my team traded a guy who was leaving any way for Eric Gordon and a very high pick in what is going to be a very good draft. Oh wait, I also got a young forward who plays excellent defense and Chris Kaman, an all-star center in a center-starved league? Christmas came early.
7. The Lakers were harmed in no way. It was no secret before the deal was made that they had been offering Odom, Gasol, and others in several trades. They were not forced to trade Odom to the Mavericks.
8. The Rockets were harmed in no way. They did not "missed out" on Nene, Hayes, West, or any of the other players they were interested in while waiting for the CP deal.
9. A final outcome that makes the Hornets and the Clippers more competitive, rather than the Lakers, improves the competitive balance of the league.
I keep hearing about how the NBA is a horrible mess and about how embarrassing this whole thing was. When I look at the facts, though, I see a difficult situation with a positive outcome. The worst part of all of this is that the Hornets were jointly owned by all of the other teams to begin with. What happened here was NOT collusion. Collusion would have been running the Hornets into the ground. Collusion is under-the-table deals where some teams can raid the Hornets roster while other teams turn a blind eye in exchange for concessions.
What am I missing?