|Did the promise of Anthony Davis seal the deal?|
How was Stern going to find an owner to meet the necessary asking price the league demanded? Step 1 was vetoing the original Chris Paul to the Lakers trade, which the Hornets GM, Dell Demps, had poorly facilitated. That trade would have made the Hornets a 25-30 win team with bloated contracts and no future. Getting Eric Gordon, bottoming out, reducing payroll, and having 2 high draft picks to rebuild the team with this Summer was a much wiser course of action and would be more appealing to a prospective owner. Did Stern care about the uproar over him vetoing the original blockbuster? Hell no. Stern does want he wants.
|Former Cavs inept owner Ted Stepien|
Way back in the 1980's when Stern was just beginning his dictatorship, he was desperate to get rid of Ted Stepien, the Cavs owner who was referred to as the worst in all sports. The Cavs were horrible and Sepien had traded away all of the team's draft picks. James Worthy (1982), Derek Harper (1983), Sam Perkins (1984), Detlef Schrempf (1985), Roy Tarpley (1986), and Dennis Rodman (1987) all were draft picks made by other teams thanks to the Cavs trading them their first rounders for scrubs (This is why we now have the "Stepien Rule" which prohibits a team from trading 1st rounders in consecutive seasons).
Brothers George and Gordon Gund were willing to buy the Cavs after the 1983 season, but only if the NBA kicked in bonus draft picks, which they did. To facilitate the sale, Stern and the NBA gave the Cavs four first round picks from 1983-1986. The Gunds agreed to purchase the team only after that agreement.
|Would you prefer the 1982 #1 overall|
pick or the immortal Dan Ford?
Yes, I know the NBA invites one rep from every team to the lottery drawings and they also invite 4 token media members. But do these player reps and media members have the background to know rigged ping pong balls from regular ping pong balls? They're not Vegas casino security. They're basketball people.
Maybe the Hornets just ended up lucky and there were no shenanigans. Maybe Benson was willing to buy the Hornets without the #1 overall pick. Or maybe there is some truth to this conspiracy. Maybe there was a reason why several team executives cried foul after the lottery. If you think Stern would never give draft picks to help push along a team sale, think again. It happened when he took over the league and quite possibly may have happened again as he prepares to leave the league in the near future.
Sources: Tip-Off: How the 1984 NBA Draft Changed Basketball Forever
Joe Tait, It's Been a Real Ball JR 6/28/2012 12:16:00 AM Tweet