Eric Thomas: David Stern Has To Go
David Stern should not be the commissioner of basketball. He should have stepped down yesterday, but he needs to step down now. We should allow him to write “retired” on the form if he chooses to, but when we gather to discuss it we can say that is for ”basketball reasons”.
The credibility of the league hangs in the balance, and Stern hung himself in three steps. The decision to force the owners to split up the Hornets like a bar tab and run it by committee was laughable. What is the incentive for an innovative owner to deftly manage a team when they have to pony up for the losers? The owners of the other teams benefit from the Hornets’ suffocation, and they perch on the the sidelines ready to sink their teeth into the parts that haven’t rotted all the way through.
Yet somehow in this environment, Dell Demps actually got a pretty decent deal. The CP3 deal wasn’t a swindle. The Hornets were poised to have a middling year after aquiring Lamar Odom, Paul Gasol and a first round draft pick. Its not like the Lakers were sending smallpox blankets to the bayou. The Hornets could conceivably get better through that trade, while unloading a player that written his desire to leave on a beacon in the sky..
Stern blocking the trade was the second problem. There have been plenty of people who spit back at you “Well he works for the owners”, but funny how he forgets that when Mark Cuban speaks. But when Dan Gilbert emits a wail like a siren and stomps his feet, Stern drops to his knees and licks out of his assigned dog dish.
Stern blocked the trade, neutering Demps in the process (in effect scolding him for making a bad deal) and has the gall to cite “basketball reasons” in an attempt to explain away his immature rush to judgement. Leaders lead, and his pathetic attempt to save face was somehow topped by an even more pathetic attempt to save face. He has now “given Demps the authority” (why didn’t he have it before?) to execute another version of the trade, although not conceding his previous obstruction was a silly and misguided. So should the Lakers give the Hornets less than what they offered before? More?
Leaders have to go when their decisions seem feckless. If the caricature emerges that Stern is lazily affecting the competition of the league based purely on whim, l the NBA starts looking like professional wrestling. In the status quo, they don’t look like wrestling. They look worse than wrestling.
David Stern has irrevocably tarnished the office of the commisioner, and needs to vacate it. Now.