In December of 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers had a deal in place that would land superstar point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) in exchange for forwards Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. At least, that was until then-Commissioner David Stern pulled the plug on the whole thing and vetoed the trade.
Stern claimed to be acting as the owner of the Hornets, who had been purchased by the league, but conspiracy theories ran wild about what his true motives may have been.
In a recent episode of the Woj Pod featuring Adrian Wojnarowkski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, Wojnarowski revealed that there were other teams attempting to trade for Paul, but those offers were kept at bay when Paul informed the teams that he would not stay with them:
“When Chris Paul was in New Orleans, there were two teams that wanted to be aggressive in trading for him and he said ‘I will not re-sign with you,'” said Wojnarowski, referring to the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.
Paul was apparently uninterested in joining an aging Celtics team or a Warriors team that was still up-and-coming. Instead, he hoped to join either the Lakers or the Clippers in Los Angeles, with his preference being the Lakers, where he could team up with Kobe Bryant.
By keeping Andrew Bynum out of the Paul trade, the Lakers theoretically could have still traded for Dwight Howard as well, giving them a big three that would be difficult to match.
Of course, Lakers fans know all too well that after Stern derailed the Lakers deal, he was shipped to the Clippers instead, sparking a period of success for the historically terrible franchise. The Lakers still attempted to form a super team, trading for Steve Nash and Howard, but injuries derailed their plans and push the team into the rebuild period that they are still in the thick of today.