Thursday, February 2, 2012

Depraved Indifference

As Mitt Romney recently reminded us, corporations are people too. That includes the NBA. So I am wondering whether the league, in possession of its personhood, could be charged with depraved indifference over what it did earlier this season to the New Orleans Hornets. To review, David Stern and company allowed a group of jealous and petty owners to block a three-way trade between the Hornets, Rockets, and Lakers that would have put Chris Paul in L.A.

In damage control mode, they then approved a trade between the Clippers and Hornets that caused a whole host of interesting things to happen, but none of those included anything happening in New Orleans. Bill Simmons covered this in a recent column by citing a reader from New Orleans who said this:
"Eric Gordon, our main get in the CP3 trade to the Clips, has played two games (TWO!) this season and may not be back until mid-March. He also turned down an extension, making him a restricted free agent come July. Are the Hornets now covered in the blood of the murdered Lakers-Rockets deal? Has David Stern effectively killed basketball in New Orleans?"
And yes, Eric Gordon has played only two games. But to understand the whole magnitude of what has happened, let's look at the results this season from what the Hornets would have received in the scuttled trade and what they ultimately received.

Denied Trade
Luis Scola
14.6ppg, 5.6rpg, 22 games

Kevin Martin
21.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.7apg, 20 games

Goran Dragic
7.9ppg, 3.7apg, 22 games

2012 First Round Pick (Knicks pick)
Currently Pick #15

Accepted Trade
Eric Gordon
21.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.0apg, 2 games

Chris Kaman
9.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 17 games

Al Farouq-Aminu
4.7ppg, 4.3 rpg, 22 games

2012 First Round Pick (T-Wolves pick)
Currently Pick #12

I'm not even sure these numbers tell the whole story because the Rockets have been far better than the Hornets. The Rockets are 12-10 to the Hornets 4-18. So it isn't like Aminu and Kaman aren't getting opportunites to put up better numbers. If basketball folds in New Orleans, this trade will be the bullet that does it. And it won't be hard to find the suspect that fired it.

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