NBA commissioner David Stern has said that he was only “generally informed about the discussions” prior to his veto of a trade that would have sent star point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Jonathan Feigen in the Houston Chronicle. But Feigen cites two sources “with direct knowledge of the talks” who believe that Stern is not being completely accurate — and, in fact, one of those sources calls Stern’s version of the events “an outright lie.”
According to Feigen’s source, Hornets general manager Dell Demps told Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey (whose team was also to be part of the deal) that Stern had been kept up to date throughout the process. Demps’s assertion is especially significant since the NBA currently owns the Hornets. Feigen’s source characterized the situation thusly:
“He said that David was briefed and that it was a done deal. He (Demps) said multiple times that he briefed both of his local officials, (Hornets president) Hugh Webber and (Hornets chairman) Jac Sperling, and they and Dell at regular intervals were updating (NBA vice presidents) Stu Jackson and Joel Litvin and that they told David himself throughout the day. Also, Hugh and Jac, who were updating the league office, understood it to be a deal.”
None of the general managers is quotes in Feigen’s story, but reports following the veto indicated that Kupchack and Morey were exceedingly displeased with the outcome.
Following the abortive trade with the Lakers, Paul was eventually dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers for a package of younger players and a high draft pick.