NBA Kills Lakers’ Three-way Trade for Chris Paul

Well that was short-lived.

Only mere hours after it was announced that the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets had struck a deal to send Hornets' point guard Chris Paul to the west coast, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that NBA commissioner David Stern has killed the deal.

In return for Paul, the Lakers were supposed to send Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom to New Orleans. For Gasol, the Rockets would then ship Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic to the Hornets. According to Wojnarowski, the Rockets had also agreed to send a 2012 first-round pick to New Orleans as part of the package.

This comes after an uproar from NBA owners who were irate with what the trade stood for. During the five-month long NBA Lockout, a big emphasis was put on making it easier for small-market teams to acquire stars and harder for large-market teams to hoard them. After the proposed trade was announced and reported, several small-market owners pushed Stern to kill the deal made by the Hornets, the only NBA-owned team.

"The deal is off," a source involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports. "It's dead."

The players that were involved in the now-dead deal have been told to report to their teams' facilities tomorrow for the opening of training camp. Talk about awkward.

Although it's still believed there's a possibility that the deal will regain some steam, the fact that Stern used his commissioner powers to override the trade has resurrected much of the bitterness that fans had towards the league during the lockout. It appears that along with this trade went a large chunk of what was left of the NBA's credibility.

Apart from the backlash from other owners, the deal seemed to work out well for all sides. The Lakers got their star point guard to team up with shooting guard Kobe Bryant. The Hornets got plenty of talent to rebuild around instead of letting Paul leave via free agency next year without getting anything in return. The Rockets lost quite a bit, but landed a top-tier talent in Gasol. There's a possibility that the Rockets might have been unhappy with the deal, but nothing had initially been reported on the subject.

As for Paul himself, he's certainly not a happy camper. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, the almost-Lakers point guard is already exploring legal options to overturn the blocked deal.

"[Stern] wasn't going to let Chris Paul dictate where he wanted to go," a league source said on the dead deal.

No matter how this plays out, it's going to get messy. Stern is going to have a horde of angry fans, players and possibly even owners at his office demanding that he rescind his cancellation of the trade. It will really hit the fan if he allows the Hornets to trade Paul to another NBA team in a smaller market. Put on a jacket folks, because a PR storm is a brewin'.

Death is at the NBA's door and Stern just invited it in for a cup of tea.

Gil Alcaraz IV is a Los Angeles native who was born into a family of diehard Lakers fans. For more Lakers coverage, follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV.

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Updated Thursday, Dec 8, 2011