The Chris Paul talks that would never die were revived Monday night, with a twist that was enraging some rival general managers. The Clippers' winning waiver claim on Chauncey Billups allowed them to include point guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal, which could push it over the finish line, league sources told CBSSports.com.
But rival executives were circulating this conspiracy theory Monday night: Was it a coincidence that the Clippers were able to get Billups for $2 million when they were negotiating a related trade with the league office, which knew the competing bids?
The salacious conspiracy theory was only perpetuated by the conflict of interest inherent in the NBA's handling of the trade for the Hornets, who were taken over by the league in December 2010. Given the backlash against the soap opera that has dominated the reopening of NBA business after the lockout -- and the potential death knell for the New Orleans franchise if Paul were stranded there and forced to leave as a free agent after the season with no compensation -- the pressure was never greater on the league to ensure that Paul was moved to L.A.
The NBA owners and league office should have spent the lockout ironing out their own problems. What a mess. With multiple bids, it was surprising the Clippers won at $2 million.
LAC: "We can't give up Bledsoe. All we'll be left with is Mo Williams at the point."
NBA: "Hmm... why don't you bid 2 mil for Chauncey?"
NBA: "Just trust us."
LAC: "Ok. We bid 2 mil on Billups."
NBA: "Congrats you won the bidding. Now add Bledsoe."