The Second Treatise of Basketball by David Stern?

December 12, 2011

Political Theory


As you may have heard, David Stern made headlines last week for effectively killing a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers for Lamar Odom. The reason behind this is still not officially known but some interesting scenarios have been talked about in the past few days. Some Possible reasons are listed below.

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  1. Unique to New Orleans, the NBA actually owns the team after buying it from its previous owner last year to preserve an NBA franchise in New Orleans. Some people believe that the trade was vetoed in order to make the team value as high as possible for when they inevitably sell the team.
  2. Some believe that the trade was vetoed to prevent the NBA from consolidating in a few-big market (NY, Bos., Mia.) teams. The logic behind this is that owners of small market teams threatened to not sign the new CBA that Stern had worked feverously for many months to complete.
  3. There is some speculation to the fact that Stern may have just lost his mind.

While I won’t get into much about the first trade. Today, it was announced that David Stern had yet again killed a deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the LA Clippers, which is a big market team, but does not have the market share nationally as a Lakers or Celtics do. What does this second invalidated trade say about Stern’s Intentions? I actually don’t have answer. I will admit, that I am quite confused about why he would not let this deal go through. Granted, it would be a huge blow to a New Orleans team that is pretty thin without their star point guard, but in this economic outlook, the best move financially for a small market team such as New Orleans may be to dump salary. What would John Locke say about this? In his social contract he argues that individuals would agree to form a state for the primary purpose of personal safety, freedom from slavery, and protection of property. Could the NBA be seen the same way? It is an association after all, where David Stern must rule in a way that, although it may not seem apparent,  is to protect the NBA from collapse or contraction, both of which would surely hurt the players and owners alike?

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John Locke

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David Stern

What would you do if you were the Commissioner? Chris Paul? Owner of a small market team such as the Cleveland Cavaliers or Oklahoma City Thunder?

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2 Comments on “The Second Treatise of Basketball by David Stern?”

  1. ymsyed Says:

    I think that Stern’s move regarding the Lakers-Hornets-Rockets trade was probably the biggest blunder that he made in his career. The Hornets–and this much isn’t disputed by ANY analyst–had the most to gain out of this trade. They were getting several solid pieces for a superstar that planned on leaving them anyways in seven months. The Lakers, on the other hand, were willing to part ways with Gasol and Bynum, essentially their front court–to simply have the chance to rebuild their team with Paul. I personally feel that the owners pressured Stern a lot, and he eventually caved into their demands and vetoed the trade. While he may have done this–at least in his mind–to preserve order in the NBA, as Locke’s principles might suggest, I think that he ended up hurting the league’s credibility a lot. I don’t think there is one person out there that thinks that this was a good, logical move.

    Also, I don’t think that Stern vetoed the Clippers-Hornets trade today. I think that the Clippers backed back out because of the Hornets crazy demands. Although, now that I think about it, you could blame that on Stern as well.

    I would say it’s about time that he resigns…

  2. daniellwang Says:

    The reason the Stern vetoed both trades is because of the displeasure expressed by the collective owners of the Hornets. As mentioned in the post, the Hornets are owned by the league and when this trade was announced the majority of the small market team owners were outraged. Following the Heat’s acquisition of LeBron James and Chrish Bosh in addition to Dwayne Wade, the small market teams were worried that moving Chris Paul to the Lakers would concentrate too much of the star power in the NBA in too few teams, more specifically the large market teams. This is the main concern of the small market team owners is that if star players continue the trend of gravitating towards large market teams, eventually the NBA will be composed of only a few super franchises and 25 other teams that do not matter. I think that this problem can be fixed by looking at John Rawls. Rawls believed that everyone should be granted an equal opportunity. I think that by vetoing the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, he is trying to give the smaller market teams an equal opportunity at competing for the championship. I do not necessarily agree with Stern’s actions, but I can understand them. I think that instead of being so invasive in the decisions of each team, Stern should implement more subtle rules and policies that will ensure equal opportunity for every team, even the small market ones, to acquire star players and put together a competitive team.

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