EL SEGUNDO-- In the wake of NBA Commissioner David Stern’s stunning spike of a proposed three-team trade ultimately sending All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the league-owned New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers, Player’s Association president Derek Fisher said the union will take a wait-and-see approach.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and it seems to change every few minutes. It’s hard to say what decisions will be made until this thing plays itself out, because there’s so much at stake for so many different players and teams involved,” Fisher said. “Hopefully a solution is found sooner rather than later.”
Still, Fisher made his position on the matter clear, and in the wake of the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement following months of labor strife showed little support for Stern’s decision.
“I disagree with the NBA or Commissioner Stern or the owners’ ability to hold up a trade in the fashion that they have,” Fisher said. “In a sense, it flies in the face of the months that we spent negotiating a collective bargaining agreement agreeing to take such a smaller percentage of [Basketball Related Income] in exchange for freedom of movement in the system. There shouldn’t be arbitrary reasons why guys can or cannot get traded. If two teams want to make a deal and things work and things work and it’s within the parameters and the boundaries of the CBA, it shouldn’t be held up for reasons other than those things.”
Fundamentally, he said, the league is in an untenable position, and noted a warning sent last year by his former coach. “Phil [Jackson] touched on it last year, I think. Where it’s just dangerous for the league to actually have ownership of a team to begin with, because of these type of circumstances.”
In a statement Friday afternoon, Stern said "final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the commissioner's office in consultation with [Hornets] team chairman Jac Sperling."
"All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets," he continued. "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."
Thursday evening, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league blocked the deal for “basketball reasons.”
Sources have told ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard and Marc Stein the Lakers, Hornets, and Houston Rockets are revisiting the trade, and are “hopeful” of reconfiguring the terms of the deal in a way satisfying the league office.