Dan Gilbert Letter Expresses Outrage Over Chris Paul Lakers Trade

Well, Dan Gilbert is writing letters again. As you’re well aware, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, and Houston Rockets had agreed to a trade in principle that would send Chris Paul to the Lakers. The NBA, which coincidentally owns the Hornets, vetoed the trade late Thursday. Now, it’s complete chaos – apparently Paul will not report to the Hornets on Friday, while Lamar Odom (who, along with Paul Gasol, was to be traded out of LA) may not report to the Lakers.

Stern’s veto of the trade supposedly came from pressure among smaller market owners who were worried about competitive balance, and didn’t like the fact that after five months of a lockout, it was more of the same among star players “choosing” their destinations.

And late Thursday, Yahoo! published a letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to Commissioner Stern that is a seething plea to block the trade. As you can imagine, Gilbert’s letter has not and will not go over too well.

One thing that is interesting is that this letter was leaked late to Yahoo! after intense and relentless criticism of David Stern and the league office mounted over the course of the evening. The leak had the effect of immediately turning the guns from Stern on to Gilbert, who was getting crushed on Twitter and in the press. Unlike the comic sans contretemps, this one, as far we know, was sent in confidence to limited recipients and not for the public.

The complete letter, via Yahoo!, after the jump:


It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.

This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.

Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.

I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.) When the Lakers got Pau Gasol (at the time considered an extremely lopsided trade) they took on tens of millions in additional salary and luxury tax and they gave up a number of prospects (one in Marc Gasol who may become a max-salary player).

I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen.

I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do.

When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?

Please advise….

Dan G.

  • Tom Pestak

    DAN GILBERT IS MY HERO. You know something is the truth when all the ESPN fools start whining.

  • http://twitter.com/dj_2 DJ

    And now Dwight Howard is trying to strong-arm Orlando to trade him to NJ/Brooklyn. Can’t block that trade like the CP3 deal, but this just shows the lockout was pointless & small-market owners caved when they shouldn’t have, making the whole exercise pointless.

    So if you don’t live in New York, Chicago, LA, Boston, Miami or Dallas (or Philly, for that matter), then what’s the point of being an NBA fan? I love the Cavaliers, but if they’re just gonna be pillaged by the big markets like baseball (just with a different system), it makes me not want to even bother…it’s why I don’t actively follow baseball anymore. Guess I’ll treat the NBA like MLB; I’ll watch the Cavs and Tribe when they’re on, but I won’t watch any other teams/games.

  • pepe

    I love Gilbert. I wish he’d buy the Indians.

    I hope he used helvetica this time.

  • Sean

    The NBA became a sham with Gilbert strong arming Stern in blocking this trade. By Gilbert’s logic he should be able to email block any trade he doesn’t like? Didn’t Gilbert try to trade for CP3 last June. Dan Gilbert and the other owners signed up for this CBA. If they didn’t want trades like this to occur maybe they should have shown a little more resolve and continued the lockout. I know I will be blasted because most, if not all you only care about is the Cavs. But today the NBA offically became the WWE and who knew Gilbert would be it’s Vince McMahon?

  • Steve

    You know what, I’m not embarrassed by Gilbert this time. This letter actually was written after a little bit of thought and with some actual argument for his points. I thought the trade should have been allowed to happen, but Gilbert has swayed me. I know he’s just being pissy that he got effed, but this is the kind of rationalism i expect out of an owner 100% of the time.

  • Steve

    Sean, Dan Gilbert currently owns a share of the Hornets. That’s why he gets a say in if this trade goes down. Now, I think that if the NBA owners didn’t want this trade to go through, like they seemingly voted, then this trade should have been nixed when it first got discussed, not after the fact. But the fact remains that the other NBA owners get final say on the decisions the Hornets make, and if they vote down the trade, then it should not be allowed.

  • Myke

    The NBA Owns The Hornets! Understand that The NBA Owns The Hornets. They can do that… Washington Generals lol now thats classic

  • Sean

    @Steve So will all moves made by the Hornets be voted on by every owner until they find a buyer? I expect Gilbert and the other owners to vote on what the Hornets should do with David West as well then, right Steve? Oh wait that is why the NBA hired Dell Demps to be the Hornets GM, to determine their personnel moves. If so great, I will retract my statement.

    I can’t wait to see the long line of buyers lining up when the Hornets lose Chris Paul to FA and get no assest in return. I bet the price will be of the charts.

    Seems like a fair system that players on 31 teams can be traded anywhere the GM/Owner sees fit within the CBA rules but not 1 team. I hope Paul sues the NBA and takes them for millions.

  • matthew

    sues the NBA for what? violating his right to be traded to the team of his choice? nonsense.

  • doc1188

    Because Gilbert is the hero that the NBA deserves, but not the one it needs right now… and so we’ll hunt him… because he can take it… because he’s not a hero… he’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a Dark Knight…

  • Tom Pestak

    “I can’t wait to see the long line of buyers lining up when the Hornets lose Chris Paul to FA and get no assest in return. I bet the price will be of the charts.” Great logic. I’m sure it will be at least as long as the current line.

  • Tim

    Go Gilbert if this is true! If not, yeah, the lockout was pointless, and basketball will join baseball in Cleveland as being financially unfair, even with a salary cap. At least the Cavs have a good owner, though! And the Browns are clearly about to turn it around and become a perennial winner! Right!? Right!?

    #thingsarelookinggood #bitterisbetter

  • stevo904

    Great photo selection for the article. Can’t help but laugh.

  • kozy

    “When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?”

    That’s something you’d see in a comment on WFNY. Gilbert thinks and acts like a fan, and calls it like he sees it.

    That is priceless.

  • 216in614

    Dan Gilbert…still the best cleveland owner by far.

  • mmonast

    Gilbert didn’t strong arm stern to block the trade, he just demanded a league wide vote. I wonder of there is similar media/twitter outrage directed at mark Cuban, who in a previous yahoo article was described as livid about the deal too.

  • mmonast

    Gilbert is right anyways…why even have an nba anymore of all the talent is pooled in 4 or 5 cities? If fans of the rest of the leagues teams feel they have no shot at winning then why would they spend their hard warned $ on tickets, merchandise, etc.

    What was the point of the lockout if players can srill hold their current teams hostage and demand where they are traded?

  • Painesville


  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Dan Gilbert, working hard to take Colt McCoy’s Goober Crown.

  • Cooley Ford

    ESPN has a vested financial interest in making LeBron James look good. This necessarily involves making Dan Gilbert look bad. He is the scapegoat for their ruining of the league via “The Decision” special. Screw them, and their childish nonsense (which, by the way, is in their own direct economic interest).

  • PRO Crastinator

    Maybe it’s just me and maybe it’s sour grapes, but I don’t mind seeing a powerhouse in LA this year…I know the Cavs aren’t going anywhere for at least 3 to 5 years…so why not have a team that can take down the mighty Heat 3? Screw it, I’m just here for the draft picks anyways

  • Use2LoveNBA

    Dan Gilbert SUCKS! He is a hater who is constantly whining about something. I felt sorry for him when LeBron left his sorry A** team, but now I don’t. The NBA has became fixed! Chris Paul is a free-agent and should be able to decide where he wants to go play. That’s like telling a man in corporate America that he can not go work for another company because of unfair competition. The question is are NBA players signing non-compete agreements? I think owners like Dan Gilbert who campaigned against this do not know what competition! I hope the CAVS and all the other teams who tried to stop this loose big this year! The CAVS suck! And furthermore Chris Paul sue the NBA, you will win!

  • jimkanicki

    “When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?”

    expecting for lots of smart guys in media to go all smug on gilbert today while not addressing the fundamental question contained here.

    if ONE national media type (or even if one local writer or as much as one blogger on WFNY) stands up and says, ‘hell yeah, great point dan gilbert,’ it will be one more than i expected.

  • -bobby-

    I see where Gilbert is coming from, but what was the point of the lockout if this stuff can still take place? Nothing got changed to prevent this, and the only scapegoat they had was because its NO. If LAL pulls off a similar trade for Dwight you cant stop it. Really, you could argue this is what the owners wanted with increase player movement in the new CBA.

  • Mark

    I’m really confused about all of this so I’m just going to throw out a bunch of questions to see if anyone can answer them:

    1. Did LA, HOU, or NO get screwed in this trade? Was it the best deal NO could get for Chris Paul?
    2. Would it be better to let Paul walk for nothing after the season’s end, hit bottom and then rebuild? I don’t mean this as a loaded question. In the NBA this could be the better option right?
    3. Are Gilbert’s objections financial (LA gets too much $ off the books), unfairness (LA gave up too little to get Paul), parity (small market again supplying large market with best player) or some combination of all of these?

    I know Gilbert didn’t block the trade himself. That is Stern’s call. But I’m really struggling with the precedent that’s set. This is the league they set up, shouldn’t they have to live with it?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    I won’t stand up and yell “hell yeah,” but Gilbert’s letter was full of good points. The national, big-market types will unfortunately use his email on the night of The Decision/Mike Brown to LA against him in this instance despite the two incidents being completely independent. With BRI being a huge reason for the recent lockout, approving a deal that shifts competitive balance AND costs the league $21 million is outrageous, regardless of what the New Orleans GM thinks. WIth a league-owned team, this is subject to said scrutiny.

  • Mark

    @Jim – I think Gilbert’s Washington Generals line is true but isn’t this the bed they made? They just had the lockout and didn’t handle this problem. While I like Gilbert for standing up for the small market I’m not sure Stern wants this precedent. I think the NBA just opened up Pandora’s box.

  • jimkanicki

    what’s the pandora’s box? vetoing non-competitive trades?

    i dont think it’s unprecedented, but all i can come up with is the joe rudi/rollie fingers to redsox deal in the 70s.

    i kinda think it’s a good precedent. “ok players, you win on the ‘player movement’ issue in the cba. you can move. but we will review all trades to ensure a baseline level of competition between franchises is sustained.”

    so the players still get to move… but they dont all get to move, at once, to la or miami.

  • BleedingOrangeandBrown

    Seriously DG is my hero. Either he was the only one who would sack up enough to call b.s. on this deal or, the mainstream media has a vendetta against him. Either way, I think DG comes out looking like the smart business man that he is from this. The man can smell a bad deal as good as anyone. The difference is, now he looks like the only guy who actually gives a crap about this.

  • fmayse

    Denny, no one can take that away from Colt.

  • -bobby-

    @ jim- How can you decide you want to increase movement then after the fact try to limit how and when? You cannot have it both ways. The league folded in regards to the CBA, and now they are trying fix it after the fact. Im sorry but thats just wrong.

  • Lyon

    It doesn’t set a precedent b/c the LEAGUE OWNS THE HORNETS. If Stern vetoed DHo to LA, that would be a precedent. But since it’s a collectively owned team, it’s going to be allowed.

    And Scott’s right. I think the biggest prob DG has with this is competitive balance is shifted (upsetting, but sure DG could live with it on its own)AND the Lakers shed $20M in salary AND $21M in luxury tax. That’s $21M the league won’t have for revenue sharing. So in essence, the league is becoming more unbalanced and losing $ in the process.

  • Steve

    Mark and Jim – there is no precedent established here. If the Hornets had an owner that OK-ed the trade, it would have gone through. But the owner of the Hornets is the other 29 owners, and they get a right to say yes or no to the deal. They said no. They did it in a way that doesn’t make them look good, but it was well within their rights.

  • Chucky Brown

    I completely disagree with Dan G, but he has every right to express his opinion privately to Stern.

    Its Stern’s lack of cajones in dealing with the complaint that is the problem

    (also Id imagine there is some finacial gain to the other owners if the hornets are contracted)

  • ClevelandFan14

    I love the letter. The Washington Generals part was my favorite because it is so true.

  • Koala

    Per Adrian Wojnarowski, Gilbert’s email time stamped after trade was killed…typical trying to make Dan G look bad, but speaks to the lower class…love it

  • George Michael

    My question is why are we reading this letter? Who leaked it? I assume, based on the salutation that this letter was sent in confidence to the commissioner. If Stern leaked it, I can only assume that it was for selfish reasons, i.e. removing himself from the ire of the press, and that is a pretty chicken sh*t move to pull on one of your owners.

  • BomberDawg


  • Porkchop xpress

    Count me in the love Dan Gilbert camp. A lot of other owners hide in the background and reap the benefits of the changes he and a few others publicly push for. As for this mess Stern is an absolute coward for leaking a private email to take heat off his own back.

    Like it or not Gilbert is right, Stern and Demps wanted to get a deal done so they didn’t have to deal with this drama all season long. Except that the trade deadline is when the BEST possible deal will most likely be available. Look at what was being offered for Melo last year at this time and look what Denver got by being patient and waiting till the deadline. This deal was set up as a convience for the league not as a way to maximize NO’s return.
    I just think its hilarious that in this matter and the lockout, Mark Cuban has echoed many sentiments that Gilbert has voiced, but ESPN focuses soley on blasting Gilbert, they should be forced to change their name (WWF to WWE style)in some way to indicate that they do not deal in news or journalism anymore.

  • Mike

    I think this is a bad trade for the Hornets. And I think that’s what is expressed in the letter. How is this a good trade when the Lakers trade no picks and shed 40 million dollars of old cap space?

    I also cannot believe how much that ESPN is bashing Dan Gilbert. I hate Stephen A. Smith and he’s an idiot. Whomever leaked the letter should also be fired from the NBA offices. I can be certain that Dan is not the only owner who sees this trade as lopsided.

  • EZ

    I’m not really bothered by ESPN’s reaction, possibly because I stopped going to that site in July 2010. But also because it doesn’t matter if the media supports him – all that matters is that we do. Mark Cuban’s been under fire for years for his various shenanigans, but everyone in Dallas loves him and that’s really all that matters. I’m tired of defending the Cavs to people who are predisposed to not listen to me.

  • DonFelder

    @Use2LoveNBA: A few points to your uninformed drivel above:

    1. Chris Paul is NOT a free agent. He has one year left on his current contract. Thus, he is not “free” to “sign” with whomever he chooses.

    2. “That’s like telling a man in corporate America that he can not go work for another company because of unfair competition.” :

    Well, funny you make that analogy because it happens ALL THE TIME in corporate America. See, we have these things called noncompetition agreements, trade secrets law, and tortious interference with contractual relations that are used to stop these types of things from happening in “corporate America” all the time. Guess who gets hit with those? The corporate “stars.” So here, an NBA star is feeling the same burn. Happens all the time.

  • Lyon

    I wanted to respond to him as well Don, but couldnt bring myself to respond to the troll. Thanks for doing it for me.

  • Shamrock

    Gilbert’s a big whiner is all

  • Chris

    Anyone who thinks what Dan wrote is in any way harmful to the NBA is a complete and utter moron.

  • Quinton

    Ah… Glad to see that good, ole’ fashioned, sabotage is alive and well, and not only in politics (Herman Cain, anyone???)! “Curiously” ironic, how the press chooses to throw the Cavs owner under the bus, when he was just one vote of 20+ owners who staged an 100+ day lockout to gain some control over these types of events. Most people call it Gilbert, further “crying over spilled milk,” however think of it as a concerned party forwarding his concerns over business remaining the status quo, as opposed to changing (according to the premise of the lockout).

    Just goes to show that you can’t escape drama, whether you watch reality TV or not. Like the McD’s commercial: “I’m lovin’ it!”

  • Abc

    ur a dumbass