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And Another Thing

Associated Press
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, right, shakes hands with his then new general manager Chris Grant in 2010.

Cry, baby

Dan Gilbert needs a good dose of Just Get Over It.

The Cleveland Cavaliers owner/Whiner in Chief was apparently the ringleader among small-market NBA owners who got the Chris Paul-to-the-Lakers deal nixed by the commissioner, David Stern.

Apparently, Gilbert sent an e-mail to Stern calling the deal a "travesty," even though, in exchange for Paul, the Lakers were giving up both Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, the latter going to Paul's New Orleans Hornets in addition to three other players.

I know, I know. In the real world, this sounds like the Hornets got more than decent value for Paul. And it sounds like the Lakers, far from loading up, gave up their entire inside game for a guard with whom Kobe Bryant may or may not be willing to share the basketball.

But Gilbert is apparently that species of owner who's regrettably all too common -- i.e., lots of money, zero smarts -- and he still can't get over the fact that he lost LeBron James to the Heat. It was his own fault for not putting enough pieces around LleBron to make the Cavs enough of a title contender for LeBron to stay, but don't try to tell Gilbert that.

The upshot is, by leading the charge to get the Paul deal squashed, he does his small-market pals no favors. Now Paul will just play out the last year of his contract with the Hornets, and, next summer, go where he wants to go anyway. And instead of at least getting something of value for him, the Hornets will likely get nothing.

Now that's some quality thinkin'.

Honestly, it's hard to say what Stern and the small-market owners think they can get. A big part of the new collective bargaining agreement revolved around keeping the big franchises from raiding the smaller ones for their stars, but how exactly do they propose to stop that?

This isn't the 1960s, and the reserve clause that kept players in baseball chained to their teams for life is long dead. Unless Stern et al think they can resurrect it, thereby making free agency illegal, it's hard to see how they can keep players tied to their small-market teams in perpetuity.

Good luck with that. You might as well try to sell condos on the moon.

Ben Smith's blog.