It was the trade that never was.
On this day five years ago, David Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. In return, the Hornets would have received Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, and Goran Dragic from both the Lakers and Rockets. The Rockets would have gotten Pau Gasol.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 8, 2016
This is a tale of “what could have been” for nearly every single player involved.
The Lakers could have paired two of the most competitive guards of this millennium in CP3 and Kobe, and still would have had the assets to go after Dwight Howard (they wouldn’t have hindsight to say don’t do that like we do today). They would have definitely contended for multiple titles, clashed with the Spurs, Thunder for multiple titles, and would have had a big three that rivaled the one in South Beach.
Of course, this did not happen. The Lakers got Dwight, but he did not work out, and the last few years have not been kind to Lakers fans.
The Clippers, the main benefactor fo the trade being vetoed, traded for Paul shortly thereafter. They have had some success with him and are no longer “that other team” in L.A. The Rockets were unable to get Gasol, but a couple of years later were able to get some guy by the name of James Harden. The Hornets, now Pelicans may not have had much success recently, but they did end up with Anthony Davis, so it could have been worse.
This non-trade is one of the better “what ifs?” in NBA history. It potentially could have swung the balance of multiple titles, and also the status of one of the NBA’s premier franchises.