Jeanie Buss has revised her biography, Laker Girl, and she goes in depth about what happened with the failed Chris Paul trade.
It turns out that Jeanie was embroiled in the owners meetings during the NBA lockout, and didn’t even know what was going on in terms of a trade that the team was working on. In the meetings, she said that some owners said since they couldn’t beat the Lakers on the court, they’d do it in the boardroom.
So, she talks about the trade and why it was vetoed:
“While I was in that meeting, neither my father nor my brother was present. They were back in L.A., free to deal with New Orleans. The Hornets were owned by the league at that time, and NBA officials had hired Dell Demps to be the team's general manager. They empowered him to be the team's ultimate decision maker on the basketball side.
So the deal was struck and it seemed like the Lakers had struck gold once again.
It was exactly what the small-market owners had said was going to happen.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was so incensed by the trade that he sent a scathing email to the league office. In it, he ranted and raved, basically arguing that soon the NBA would be akin to the Harlem Globetrotters (the large-market teams) playing against the Washington Generals (the small-market teams).
That email was soon leaked to the media by someone who wanted the basketball world to know just how unhappy some of the owners were with David.
To those owners, this trade was like getting a pie in the face. They had walked out of a meeting where David had made them all get on the same page to save the season only for them to hear, "Surprise! The Lakers just acquired Chris Paul."
That gave them their I-told-you-so moment. I believe that if we could have delayed the trade for 24 or 48 hours, perhaps their heads wouldn't have exploded. It was just that they felt no other teams had a fair chance to acquire Paul.
I had fallen asleep on the plane after my flight took off. When I woke up, I learned the deal had been rescinded. David -- for basketball reasons, he said, not because owners were complaining -- had negated the deal. I don't think David caved to the owners. The problem, in my opinion, was giving Demps the leeway to be the ultimate decision maker. As the general manager, he should have been required to get final approval from a higher level
It was frustrating for us to lose Chris after we thought we had him. I called some of my fellow owners and asked, "What the hell happened?" A couple of them said the same thing: "Jeanie, look at the timing. If you guys would have just waited ..."
Many of them conceded that they didn't think it was a great deal for us anyway. It wasn't like we stole him from New Orleans; we were giving up valuable assets.
Personally, I had mixed feelings because I like Pau so much and didn't want to see him go.
Being traded only to wind up back with the team that tried to deal them away hours earlier was a weird situation for both Pau and Lamar. These were uncharted waters that one man was able to navigate while the other capsized.
The proposed trade affected Lamar in a way that made it difficult for him to focus or even attend practice. Pau, on the other hand, handled it really well, and acted as if the incident had never happened. I don't think he gets enough credit for his professionalism.
So the decision was made to move Lamar. Immediately.
I found out when my brother sent me the following text: "Traded Odom to Dallas for first-round pick. I think it might make it easier to make a big trade. Will keep you posted. Have a good night."”
Jeanie made it clear that Dr. Jerry Buss was involved in making the trade which is good because otherwise a lot of the blame for pulling the trigger so fast would have fallen on Jim Buss. Inevitably. However, that's still a pretty formal and brusque text to send to your family member and business partner.
It makes you wonder what that season would have looked like if the Lakers had waited that 24hrs. Chris Paul has helped revitalize the Los Angeles Clippers, and is a player they can build around for a long time.
The Lakers are still looking for that piece.