David Stern was careful to avoid the national radio sports talk shows this morning.
But Stern finally has spoken on his controversial decision that nullified the three-way trade that would have moved Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s what Stern had to say, courtesy of a statement released by the NBA.
“Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the Commissioner’s Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling. All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade.”
But Dallas owner Mark Cuban said he was against the trade for “basketball reasons.”
“The message is we went through this lockout for a reason,” Cuban said Friday on ESPN Dallas 103.3. “Again, I’m not speaking for Stern. He’s not telling me his thought process. I’m just telling you my perspective, having gone through all this. There’s a reason that we went through this lockout, and one of the reasons is to give small-market teams the ability to keep their stars and the ability to compete.”
Cuban said he was against the trade because it was with the lockout.
“We just had a lockout, and one of the goals of the lockout was to say that small-market teams now have a chance to keep their players, and the rules were designed to give them that opportunity,” Cuban said. “So to all of a sudden have a league-owned team trade their best player, particularly after having gone out and sold a ton of tickets in that market, that’s not the kind of signal you want to send.
“Then, part two of that is all the rules of what you can and can’t do under the new CBA weren’t finalized until yesterday, so how do you really make a strategic decision until you know all the rules?”