Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Post-Lockout Fiasco Hits Houston Hard

Martin averaged 23.5 PPG
 for Houston last season and was
close to breaking the record for
3-pointers made and free-throws made

NBA fans it has most certainly been an eventful week of free agency to say the least. The post-lockout period has been marked by interesting events, some that require head scratches as well as thumbs up. In addition, not all has been pretty for the NBA and especially for teams like the Houston Rockets who have certainly felt the punch of the free agency period thus far.

As the lockout ended there was speculation that Chris Paul wanted out and that he was done and over with the league owned New Orleans Hornets. As the Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified by the league and thus the lockout was officially lifted, Hornets' all-star point guard, Chris Paul, subsequently confirmed the speculation and came out honest and open about his desire to leave the Hornets franchise. Hornets' GM, Dell Demps was quick to orchestrate potential deals to ship Paul out of New Orleans to ensure that productive players would be shipped back in return to avoid losing him in free agency for nothing at all.  Of those potential deals, the specific three-team deal between the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets seemed most promising and reports say that it was, in fact accepted across the board among each respective team's front offices. The three-team deal was centered around landing Paul in LA and consisted of sending Odom out to New Orleans and Gasol out to Houston.                                                                                          

LAL: Chris Paul
HOU: Pau Gasol
NO: Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, Lamar Odom and a protected 1st round pick from Houston (via NYK)

This is where the deal gets complicated. Ultimately, because the Hornets are owned by the league the final decision on all trades involving New Orleans must be made and signed off by David Stern, Adam Silver and those involved within the league head office. As the trade was agreed by all three teams, it soon become public as reports stated that the trade was ''done'' and ''imminent''. 

However, subsequently, the deal was over-turned by Commissioner Stern due to "basketball reasons" and left all three teams in adversity. The Rockets now have their two top scorers in Martin and Scola disgruntled and uncertain about their spot on the roster both now and long-term. The Lakers now have an already-emotionally-weak Pau Gasol uncertain about his validity on the roster to deal with and as for the Hornets, they still have Chris Paul on their roster, who has openly told the public that he doesn't want to be apart of the franchise anymore. This is, to say the absolute least, a messy and discombobulated situation that hurts all three teams significantly. Although, for the most part, it's the Rockets who are most effected and are left with a bruised roster as a result of this melodrama.

In contrast, Scola still remained poised, focused and overwhelmingly professional amidst this fiasco. He stated that "it's nothing new, every year there is a lot of talking, only difference this year is that it actually happened, then it didn't happen, then it happened and then it didn't happen". The Argentine native is fresh off a 18.3 ppg (points per game) and 8.2  rpg (rebounds per game) season. Scola insists despite his name being centered in trade talks that he's just wanting to "play basketball" and move over this obstacle.

Houston's first exhibition game is scheduled for the 17th of December on Saturday Night (around Sunday morning for Australian viewers) at the Toyota Center against the San Antonio Spurs. It will soon be seen whether the trade rumors have inflicted acute or long-term damage to the Rocket's key players.

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