‘He Rejected the Trade’: Jeanie Buss Reveals the Prime Reason Lakers Failed to Sign Chris Paul

Published 04/24/2021, 11:26 PM EDT
Jeanie Buss is consoled before a game with the Celtics at the Staples Center Wednesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


The year 2011 was unique in the league’s history. This was the year that saw the Dallas Mavericks upsetting Miami Heat’s Big Three, keeping LeBron James from winning his first NBA title. This was also the year that denied the Lakers another three-peat under Kobe Bryant’s leadership. Plus, a 161-day lockout did the rest of the bombardment.

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In all this, it is easy to forget what happened with the much-hyped Chris Paul trade in the same year. The Lakers were on the brink of signing the maestro playmaker, but a series of events led their fate against it. So what exactly went wrong?

Lakers’ Jeanie Buss cleared the air around the infamous trade

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NBA player Chris Paul attends a Take Flight Media Event on July 16, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

In a recent interview with Matt Barnes, the 59-YO owner of the LA-based franchise revealed all she could about the CP3 trade. The proud president of one of the most successful franchises, detailed, “If you remember, we were in a lockout, right. When there’s a lockout, there’s a moratorium on everything, you can’t make trades, you can’t do anything. As we were making a deal with the union and then starting to lift the lockout. All the representatives of the teams had to be in New York for the board of governors meeting to ratify the new CBA.”

The 2011 lockout was the fourth ever in the league’s history. It happened because of a disagreement between the owners that wanted to impose a hard cap to increase competition and the players that favored the soft salary cap. But how did this possibly stop the Lakers from signing Chris Paul?

Just as Jeanie further explained the scenario, “When we’re in this room, all of a sudden there is a rumor that goes around about a trade. At that time the team was run by the league so there’s no way a trade could be happening if we’re all in this room doing league business, except the GM of the team felt that he had the authority to make the trade… Teams felt like how was that possible, we didn’t get a chance to trade for Chris Paul. So they attacked the league and felt this was fair. David Stern didn’t reject the trade as commissioner, he rejected the trade as governor, of the New Orleans team… It wasn’t the NBA keeping the Lakers from trading Chris Paul.”

Read also – ‘Shout Out To My Brother’: Chris Paul Dedicates NBA All-Star Game Win To Kobe Bryant

How did the Chris Paul trade to the Clippers prove bad?

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Then NBA Commissioner David Stern vetoing CP3’s trade to the Lakers did not prove right for any team. The league had purchased the team from George Shinn in 2010 and had allowed their GM Dell Demps to continue making the important player decisions. Allegedly, because of some other owners wanting to keep the Lakers from signing Chris, David Stern did not welcome Mr. Dell’s idea of sending the star point guard to them.

Had Chris gone to the Lakers that December, the Rockets would have gotten Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, and the Hornets would’ve received Goran Dragic, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and NY’s 2012 1st round pick.

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However, what actually happened was a CP3 trade to the Clippers with the Hornets acquiring Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Wolves’ 2012 1st round pick. This difference in the trades changed the course for each of the teams involved or even not involved. The formation of a Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul duo never happened, and we still have CP3 without a ring. Plus, it did not even help neither the Clippers nor Hornets to that extent as imagined. What do you think? Was it a flawed decision? Help us know in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1153 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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