UPDATE: All of this is moot at this point, the NBA reportedly moved to kill the deal late tonight under the guise of its not being in the league's "best interests." Wow.
As has been reported widely and discussed endlessly, the Rockets appear to have landed big man Pau Gasol in a three way trade with the Hornets and Lakers. The day has come, Daryl Morey has finally landed his star. Whether you hate Pau's greasy locks or not, there is no denying that he's a legitimate star big man and Rockets fans have to be excited to have him on the team for the next few seasons.
Your favorite Houston Chronicle columnist, Jonathan Feigen writes:
It's a done deal all around, as much as can be till tomorrow, source said;Pau to Hou, Paul to LA, KMartin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic to NO.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 9, 2011
Adrian Wojnarowski also noted that Odom and draft considerations from Houston were headed to New Orleans:
Besides Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom and Goran Dragic, Hornets will also receive a draft pick from Houston, source says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 9, 2011
Obviously, this came as little shock to those who follow the 24 hour news cycle on Twitter, but the fact that a deal of this magnitude apparently materialized in just hours is remarkable. Unfortunately, the Rockets may have given the Lakers a chance at kick starting another dynasty by allowing them to acquire Paul without giving up prized center Andrew Bynum. If Los Angeles ends up landing Dwight Howard as well, Daryl Morey may have karmic hell to pay.
Still, for the Rockets, this deal appears to be a major talent upgrade and a way to eliminate some of the excessive depth on the roster. The team will sorely miss Kevin Martin's scoring and Luis Scola's scrappiness, but acquiring a legitimate star big man is a huge step forward. Additionally, the move will clear the way for highly touted young guns like Courtney Lee and Patrick Patterson to take larger roles with the team.
For weeks, all the discussion on here has seemed to revolve around one issue: to rebuild or not to rebuild. Those in the camp that wanted to rebuild preached to the consistent mediocrity of the squad and the fact that so many young players were stuck deep in the rotation. Those against it said that this team was just a few players away from getting good again.
At the end of the day, I think both sides could agree that the Rockets needed to make a big move either way. With Gasol, they do that and position themselves in a great position moving forward, shaving some $4 million of the payroll with the deal. If they land Nene, DeAndre Jordan, or Marc Gasol, Daryl Morey might need a statue in front of the Toyota Center.
UPDATE: For you Lakers haters out there, here's some more bad news.
From Larry Coon:
If this deal goes down for LA as just Gasol & LO for CP3, then the Lakers gain two trade exceptions, one for $8.9M.
Essentially, the Lakers just created at least $8.9 million in cap space if they can convince another team to sign-and-trade their free agent to them. Thankfully, New Orleans has to renounce their Bird rights to David West because he could've been a candidate to go to LA. Unfortunately, Ronny Turiaf, Samuel Dalembert, and others just became very realistic possibilities to land in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the Lakers could also use their $3 million mini-mid level exception to steal away a guy like Chuck Hayes or Troy Murphy. Trust me, they won't start Derrick Caracter at the 4.
UPDATE #2: The deal might not be as done as it's been made out to be. Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that the deal will not go through tomorrow.
Here's his report:
ESPN CP3 trade latest: Trade with Lakers will NOT go through Friday and Chris Paul is expected in Hornets camp, according to sources— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 9, 2011
According to Adrian Wojnaroski, the NBA Board of Governors is "livid that the league-owned Hornets were allowed to make Paul deal" and that "NBA owners have pushed commissioner David Stern to kill the deal sending Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers."
Remember that front offices were equally angry with the Pau Gasol to Los Angeles deal a few years ago. Only difference is that the NBA didn't own one of the teams involved in the deal. An interesting story to follow.
UPDATE #3: This tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski:
The NBA is now pushing New Orleans GM Dell Demps to pull the plug on the trade and keep Chris Paul, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 9, 2011
UPDATE #4: Here come the bombshells.
From Marc Stein:
One source close to the three-team Chris Paul trade talks just told ESPN.com: "The deal is off."— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 9, 2011
The NBA has killed the proposed deal to send Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell Yahoo! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 9, 2011
If Stern allows this deal to be axed, he's essentially handing the owners a giant veto until the team is sold. Sure, his job is to act in the owners' best interests, but this seems to be overstepping his authority.