Going on seven years after he nixed the then-New Orleans Hornets’ plans to trade star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, former NBA commissioner David Stern said he was protecting the New Orleans franchise, not impeding it.
Oh, and by the way, the New Orleans exec who wanted to make the move, Dell Demps, “is a lousy general manager,” Stern said, among comments that came during an interview with Sports Illustrated.
Stern also said Demps, who is still the general manager for the now-New Orleans Pelicans, is on the verge of losing superstar center Anthony Davis.
Stern recounted how, in 2011, with the NBA acting as the New Orleans team’s interim owner, Demps came to him for approval of a three-team trade that would have sent Paul, then in his sixth NBA season, all with New Orleans, to the Lakers.
New Orleans would have received Lamar Odom from the Lakers and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic from the Rockets, plus a first-round draft pick that the Rockets had acquired in a previous deal with the New York Knicks.
The Rockets would have received Pau Gasol from the Lakers.
Acting as the Hornets’ owner, Stern recalled, he said, “We can do better than that” return for Paul.
About a week later, Stern approved trading Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and an unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick.
The Clippers also received two future second-round picks.
Despite that haul, Stern said, “Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”
Davis, in his seventh season, is eligible for a five-year, $235 million extension next summer, and he could become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. He averaged 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game last season.
Davis scored 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds on Tuesday night as the Pelicans ran their record to 3-0 this season with a 116-109 win over the Clippers.
The Pelicans responded with a tweet saying they have “the utmost confidence in our general manager, Dell Demps” and that they are “excited about the direction of our team.”
They closed with a jab at Stern, complimenting the “progressive and innovative leadership of NBA commissioner Adam Silver.”
—Field Level Media