David Stern was asked about the proposed trade of Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers that was canceled by him when the NBA were assuming control of the-then New Orleans Hornets.
Paul was to be traded to the Lakers with Pau Gasol going to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster three-team trade.
The Los Angeles Clippers eventually traded for Paul and New Orleans won the lottery to draft Anthony Davis the next year.
“I’m going to correct your language: What ‘cancellation’? The GM [Dell Demps] was not authorized to make that trade,” said Stern when asked about the canceled trade. “And acting on behalf of owners, we decided not to make it. I was an owner rep. There was nothing to ‘void.’ It just never got made.
“When you’re the commissioner and you have two teams that are ticked off at you, as in the Lakers and Houston, and the GMs without wanting to be attributed, spend their time trashing you, the wrong impression can be granted. It was one of the few times I decided to just go radio silent and let it play out, and I got killed. So, the answer is: there was never a trade. It was never approved by me as the owner rep.”
When the decision was made in 2011, a league spokesman said: “League office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons.”