– On Thursday night, the Hornets, Rockets and Lakers agreed to a three-team deal:
To Lakers: G Chris Paul
To Rockets: F Pau Gasol
To Hornets: F Lamar Odom, G Kevin Martin, F Luis Scola, F Goran Dragic
Gasol is owed $57M over the next three seasons. The Lakers picked up an incredible backcourt combo, all while keeping F Andrew Bynum in the much-rumoured trade to Orlando for F Dwight Howard. of course, this is a case of one of the richest NBA franchises getting richer at the expense of a small-market team (which is run by the NBA). The deal, however, has been nixed for “basketball reasons.”
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the three teams involved will appeal the NBA to reverse its decision. The league has the power to veto the trade for “basketball reasons,” since it technically owns the team, but had left Hornets’ GM Dell Demps to work unimpeded until over-reaching by nixing this deal. It is now uncertain how the Hornets could negotiate a trade for CP3 in good faith, and there’s a chance David Stern will overturn his own poor decision.
Paul will also explore legal options along with union chief Billy Hunter after the NBA inexplicably stopped Thursday’s big trade, and there are rumours that he will not show up in Hornets camp. Right now league spokesman Tim Frank has said the owners had nothing to do with the decision, saying the league office made a “basketball decision.” Reports are already emerging indicating Frank is blatantly lying, but again, nobody believed him in the first place. We’ll be reversing all of today’s trade action as soon as we feel the story has gained traction, and we’re sure the rest of the league is on pause, too.
Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert called the proposed trade a “travesty,” and urged NBA commissioner David Stern to put the deal to vote of the league’s 29 owners in an email obtained by Yahoo! Sports. Gilbert sent the email to Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and a handful of Gilbert’s ownership peers on Thursday. The following is the email in its entirety:
It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.
This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.
Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.
I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).
I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.
I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.
When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?
An NBA spokesman said owners “didn’t kill the deal,” instead citing “basketball reasons,” for why the league office blocked the trade.
Sticking with the trade, Pacers’ F Danny Granger tweeted Thursday night, “Due to the sabotaging of the LA/NO trade by David Stern, and following in the footsteps of my athlete brethren Metta World Peace and Chad Ochocinco, I’m changing my last name to ‘Stern’s Bi#&h’” While it’s easy to make jokes about this, there are rumblings that some players may sit out of training camps in protest of this most recent move. Those impulses may subside when players look at the ramifications of sitting out, but there are also legally compliant ways to exercise their distaste. Until Stern gets out in front of this issue, if he can, things continue to spiral out of control for a leaderless NBA.
– The NBA Board of Governors approved the new CBA for 10 years by a vote of 25-5 on Thursday. That officially ends the lockout, while free agency starts at 2 p.m. on Friday, with training camps opening the same day. Get ready for a flurry of transactions.
– The Knicks are reportedly very near a deal to acquire F Tyson Chandler and will be moving G Chauncey Billups and F Ronny Turiaf to make it happen, according to several sources. This could be a move to help lure Hornets’ G Chris Paul to New York, and getting Billups out of there would also help in that endeavor. However, Chandler’s not exactly a Mike D’Antoni type of player, but would give the Knicks an excellent front court, and Toney Douglas might be the team’s point guard for now. As of now, it seems very likely Chandler is going to play for the Knicks this season.
Now, Billups has reportedly left team training camp without permission and gone back to his hometown of Denver. His days in New York are likely over, and with the amnesty clause, he has little say where he ends up. Stay tuned.
– The Nets could trade for Magic’ F Dwight Howard as soon as Friday, according to Chris Broussard on ESPN.com. Howard is expected to soon tell the Magic that he won’t re-sign with them, and is believed to be requesting a trade to the Nets. He sounds ready to team with G Deron Williams as the Nets move to Brooklyn in 2012-13. New Jersey has reportedly offered F Brook Lopez and two future 1st-round picks, and they might send more players while taking back F Hedo Turkoglu and his bad contract. Broussard notes that New Jersey is still pursuing F Nene in case they don’t land Dwight.
– Blazers’ F Brandon Roy (knees) could soon announce his retirement due to a degenerative knee condition, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. Roy is meeting with Blazers officials to discuss his options, and a decision should be reached in the next few days. Retirement at 27 would be a very sad and abrupt end to Roy’s career, assuming he stays retired. A medically-necessitated retirement could be a good thing for the Blazers’ finances, however, freeing cap space without the use of their amnesty clause. If the league agrees that he must retire for medical reasons, his contract would come off the books in one year. Additionally, the Blazers’ insurance policy would cover a large chunk, if not all, of Roy’s salary.
– The Cavaliers are ready to use the amnesty clause to waive G Baron Davis, according to Yahoo!. That will clear the way for G Kyrie Irving to take the reins, and also clear minutes for G Ramon Sessions.
– F Dunleavy has agreed to a 2-year/$7.5M deal ($3.8M annually) with the Bucks. He’ll likely backup the two and three spots, but it’s a good signing for the Bucks.
– F Caron Butler and the Clippers have agreed on a 3-year/$24M contract. Butler chose the Clippers over the Spurs, Bulls, Heat, Nets, Pistons and Bucks. His $8M annual salary is more than most of those teams could have offered, and he should immediately start at small forward, but won’t be high up on the scoring options list.
– Angels’ 1B Albert Pujols will be introduced at a press conference Saturday in Anaheim. Pujols agreed to a 10-year/$254M contract with the Halos on Thursday morning. That deal also includes a full no-trade clause. He’ll have an opportunity Saturday to explain how the negotiations went down and what factored into his decision to leave St. Louis. There was believed to be a $50M+ gap between the offers. Pujols will also take a pre-signing physical within the next couple of days.
– Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Rays have signed LHP Matt Moore to a 5-year/$14M contract with three club options from 2017-19 that could raise the total value of the contract to 8-years/$37.5M with potential escalators that could push it past $40M. Moore, 22, has thrown just 9 1/3 career innings aside from his two postseason starts, but he’s viewed as the best pitching prospect in the game. If he can keep it up, it’s a steal for the Rays.
– Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Angels have had talks with the Athletics about RHP Andrew Bailey. Some have speculated that the Athletics would be a decent fit for 1B Mark Trumbo now that the Angels have landed 1B Albert Pujols, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was told that any such proposed deal is “total fiction.” Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto said Thursday that they plan to use the 25-year-old at the DH spot, third base and in the outfield.
– The Cubs have acquired 3B Ian Stewart and RHP Casey Weathers from the Rockies for OF Tyler Colvin and INF D.J. LeMahieu. Stewart had a poor .156/.243/.221 batting line with zero homers and six RBI in 136 plate appearances this past year for Colorado, but he’s shown flashes of power in the past and may be able to get back on track in a different environment.
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Brewers have signed SS Alex Gonzalez to a 1-year contract with a vesting option for 2013. Gonzalez, 34, batted .241/.270/.372 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI over 593 plate appearances this past season for the Braves. Gonzalez is a defensive upgrade at short. Now that he’s no longer a free agent, it appears even more likely that SS Jimmy Rollins returns to Philadelphia. The Cardinals, however, also remain an option.
– Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that a “handful of teams” have expressed trade interest in Brewers’ RHP Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod accepted arbitration from the Brewers, which means he’s set to earn around $13-14M in 2012.
– The Reds made a contract extension offer to 2B Brandon Phillips’ representatives Wednesday. ”I don’t know if they were completely happy… they didn’t agree to it,” GM Walt Jocketty said. Although all indications are that negotiations between the two sides are going well, it doesn’t appear that a deal is on the horizon.
– Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that the Yankees have not made an offer to free agent RHP Hiroki Kuroda. The Japanese website Sponichi previously reported that the Yanks have offered Kuroda a 1-year/$12M contract. The Yanks may be interested in RHP Yu Darvish after all.
– Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the D’Backs’ “focus” is on a trade for Athletics’ RHP Trevor Cahill. The D’Backs have been linked to A’s LHP Gio Gonzalez, as well, but it appears that Cahill is their top target. Cahill surely wouldn’t require as big of a package of prospects as Gonzalez would, and he would still give Arizona a frontline starting pitcher. GM Kevin Towers concedes that he has multiple trade offers to teams on the table and is just waiting to hear back. “We’re waiting to hear. The offers that we have out there with clubs, even trade offers, it’s kind of, ‘Don’t shake the tree anymore. This is where we’re at.’”
– Blue Jays’ 2B Kelly Johnson has reportedly expressed his unwillingness to move to the outfield for the 2012 season.
– Marlins’ RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo will not face charges in the Dominican Republic related to his identity fraud case. Oviedo, formerly known as Leo Nunez, was arrested on Thursday in the Dominican while trying to secure a visa under his real name. But the warrant was later revealed to be out of date and he was released quickly without bail. The Dominican authorities will not press charges against the 29-year-old because he is fully cooperating with the investigation into his own crime.
– Contrary to a previous report by the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities has been told that Vikings’ WR Percy Harvin’s illness last week was not related to migraines. Both reporters have a history of reliability, and the difference in their accounts is small. Pelissero’s source concedes that Harvin was sick and had a headache late last week, but not of the migraine variety. The Vikings insist that Harvin’s past migraine issues “remain under control.”
– Hulk Hogan has filed a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Linda Hogan. The suit is based on comments written about Hulk in her autobiography, “Wrestling the Hulk: My Life Against the Ropes,” which was released last summer. In the book, Hogan is portrayed as a manipulative man who threatened to kill Brooke’s VH-1 series if he wasn’t a regular cast member, someone who cheated on Linda and was physically and mentally abusive. Linda also alleges that Hulk has had a homosexual relationship with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, a claim he has vehemently denied.
– Two major Canadian communication giants, Bell and Rogers, have gotten together to purchase Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment from the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. Rogers and Bell will each own 37.5% of the MLSE, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, and the Air Canada Centre when the purchase is finalized next summer. It’s not clear how Rogers and Bell will split the operational duties. The teachers announce recently that they would not sell MLSE two weeks ago, but changed their minds when Bell and Rogers approached them with a new offer. Don’t expect Rogers and Bell to do anything differently in terms of the quality of the team put on the ice. Leafs’ GM Brian Burke will still keep his job and will almost certainly still be allowed to spend to the cap. Whether the team eventually wins the Stanley Cup will have more to do with Burke’s decisions and less to do with the media giants that are now standing over his shoulders.
– Lightning’ F Martin St. Louis (face/nose) is out indefinitely with facial and nasal fractures. St. Louis will have his consecutive games played streak snapped at 499 after being hit in the face by a puck during a practice drill on Thursday morning. There was no mention of damage to his eye, but the swelling will have to go down in and around that area before he is evaluated further.
– Sabres’ F Ville Leino has been suspended for one game for his elbow to the head of Flyers’ F Matt Read on Wednesday night. Leino’s elbow wasn’t penalized on the play and it didn’t result in an injury for Read, but it was deemed an illegal act, so he will miss Friday’s game against Florida. He will be eligible to return on Saturday when the Sabres host the Rangers. Leino will forfeit $24,324.32 in salary.
– Avalanche’ F Kevin Porter has been suspended for four games for his knee-on-knee hit on Canucks’ F David Booth on Tuesday night. The Avalanche forward was given a major penalty for kneeing and a game misconduct in the contest. He will be eligible to return on Saturday, December 17 against Washington. Porter will forfeit $18,378.36 in salary. Booth is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
– Red Wings’ F Patrick Eaves (broken jaw) is expected to sidelined for 6-7 more weeks.
– Devils’ D Andy Greene (fractured toe) is expected to miss 4 weeks. Greene has nine assists in 23 games this season.
– The Bruins have signed D DOugie Hamilton to a 3-year/entry-level contract. As of December 8, the 18-year-old Hamilton ranked tied for seventh amongst all Ontario Hockey League skaters in scoring, with 41 points on 11 goals and 30 assists. He currently leads all OHL defensemen in goals, assists and points.
– Triple H is ranked #20 on Boston Phoenix‘s “Unsexiest Men of 2011? list, an annual survey ranking the 100 “least appealing dudes.” The Boston, Massachusetts based newspaper brings the WWE Superstar’s name to the forefront as it is titled “Triple H to Mark Zuckerberg – 100 Unsexiest Men of the Year 2011.” Regarding the Chief Operating Officer of WWE, Boston Phoenix wrote,
“The night before his WWE contract expired, CM Punk snatched the WWE championship from the loathed John Cena, and wrestling was edgy and cool again . . . for about a week. Then Triple H — Vince McMahon’s son-in-law and inexplicable “star” from 2003 — hogged the Monday Night Raw cameras for the entire summer. The fuck?”
Other names on the list include Mark Zuckerberg, Dr. Oz, Ricky Gervais and Charlie Sheen. The full list is available here. Meanwhile, former WWE talent Lance Storm directed his Facebook fan page members to the list.
– Ultimate Warrior says he is in talks with MTV regarding The Warrior Show, which features the legendary sports entertainer directing an extreme motivational mind/body/soul work-out that combines intensity, passion, comedy and inspiration. He tweeted Thursday,
“So Exec Producer at MTV sends email: “I saw the sizzle reel for The Warrior Show and LOVED it. I think it’s really really great.” We talk…
– Kelly Kelly has responded to online reports saying she is looking to position herself for a career outside of WWE. She tweeted,
“Don’t believe everything you read! Wwe is my home.”
The report originated from this week’s issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which states she plans on pursuing acting and modeling work late next year under her real name, Barbara Blank.”
– Legendary ring announcer Howard Finkel appears unhappy with Lilian Garcia’s return to WWE. When asked for comment on the her return to the organization as SmackDown ring announcer during WWE.com’s live chat Monday, he initially ignored the subject. “The Fink” wrote “Genku already stirring the pot” in response to a fan’s query. He then said he has “even bigger news” than Garcia’s return to WWE, which was Dusty Rhodes joining Twitter. Finkel then appeared annoyed when a chat moderator posted a YouTube video of Garcia’s 2007 song ¡Quiero Vivir!. When asked for comment later, he simply wrote, “Good for her.” The following fan comment was then posted: “Fink, you should return to announce. Belong on tv not computer.” He responded, “AMEN.”
– WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts says he will be making a big announcement this week. He wrote,
“For my 1000th tweet, I’d like to announce… A big announcement this week right here on my Twitter… Stay tuned!”