It's been more than a week since David Stern's office vetoed a trade sending Chris Paul to the Lakers for "basketball reasons." In that time, a deal got done sending Paul to the Clippers, Stern denied all the allegations and criticisms blaming source-mongering journalists and the expectation was everything would go away. We'd all move on.
For the most part, people have. We're all excited to see CP3 lobbing to Blake Griffin, all excited to see how or if the Clippers can challenge the Lakers in Los Angeles and excited to see if the balance of power just shifted in the Western Conference.
But there are people that haven't moved on. Most notably the Houston Rockets.
Lost in the original CP3 mess was that the Rockets came up as major losers. The Lakers didn't get their man, Stern's reputation took a hit and the Dell Demps and the Hornets had to restructure a deal to get more youth. But no big deal, all that stuff can be fixed. The Rockets though, were left empty-handed after thinking they were about to land one of the elite power forwards in all of basketball.
And they haven't forgotten. Not just because the trade didn't work out for them, but because they feel that Stern has sort of spit in their face with his damage control of the situation. Via the Houston Chronicle:
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was asked about the situation Saturday and declined comment based on the advice of legal counsel. So that's not a good thing. The whole organization is ticked, especially owner Leslie Alexander.
Stern said in a media conference call last week that he was only "generally informed about the discussions with teams."
He emphasized that Demps never thought the deal to be complete and that his decision as final say on the move was not unlike the customary role of owners during trade negotiations.
But according to two individuals with knowledge of the talks, Demps had assured Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak throughout the day that Stern and other NBA officials had been given all the details of the deal and had signed off on it.
"He said that David was briefed and that it was a done deal," one of the individuals with knowledge of the talks said. "He (Demps) said multiple times that he briefed both of his local officials, (Hornets president) Hugh Webber and (Hornets chairman) Jac Sperling, and they and Dell at regular intervals were updating (NBA vice presidents) Stu Jackson and Joel Litvin and that they told David himself throughout the day. Also, Hugh and Jac, who were updating the league office, understood it to be a deal."
Stern maintained on a conference call after the Clipper trade went through that the deal was never done, but was just something in the talking phase. Which obviously someone in the Rockets' organization sees as a complete lie.
But Morey and Alexander were livid about Stern's action, according to the person with knowledge of the discussions that day and since. Alexander had tried to speak directly with Stern after the deal was originally nixed and again as Morey, Demps and Kupchak tried to rebuild the deal, but did not get a returned call until after the Lakers had pulled out of the discussions.
By then, the person said, Alexander had no interest in speaking with Stern and has declined to speak with him since.[...]
"You (Alexander) can say he was very angry," the person, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. "He was on the phone with Daryl too many times that day to count. When the deal finally got done, he got a call from Daryl saying the deal was done. Afterwards, the commissioner said he didn't think the deal was done. It was amazing. Daryl is extremely efficient and does things the proper way. (Lakers owner) Jerry Buss has been in the league 30 years and has made countless deals and thought the deal was done. Mitch Kupchak thought the deal was done. There was no question in his (Alexander's) and Daryl's minds the deal was done."
This story isn't over. It's not going to go away quite yet. It would, except the Rockets feel like they got screwed, which they did. And they're going to try and make sure everyone hears about it.