The first three questions were mine. Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle followed up.
UPDATED at 6:25PM on 02/08/12:
So originally I wasn’t going to attend the event today. I don’t get out of class until noon on Wednesdays and I wasn’t really interested to hear about the All-Star game. But I just had a feeling there might be a chance to interview Stern so I left class early; someone had to ask him about that trade.
Initially, I wanted to take a legal perspective. My legal theory was that the Rockets relied on past practice and the apparent authority of Dell Demps in coordinating that trade with the Hornets. In essence, due to prior practice, they had every reason to believe that Dell Demps had the full authority to authorize a trade. On this assumption, they engaged in prolonged talks. In the process, time was lost and so was Chuck Hayes. In this scenario, the reliance damages are Chuck Hayes or Chuck Hayes’ production.
Since a) I only know about three and 1/2 semesters worth of law (compared to Stern’s 40 years practicing in the highest of posts) b) I’m not privy to whatever agreements the league has with teams and other confidential contractual minutiae, and c) I only would have about five seconds to spit something out, I decided to go the easy route and get him on simple logic: “If you’re going to overrule Demps anyways, does that just mean he’s unfit to be general manager?”
The commissioner turned it into an artful game of semantics, keying in on my use of the word “revoke.” Technically, sure, he’s right. Nothing was revoked as the trade wasn’t ‘authorized.’ But practically speaking, it’s the same damn issue: David Stern stepped in and took control of the fate of a trade which everyone, including the Rockets, thought Dell Demps had the authority to consummate. It doesn’t matter if he didn’t revoke it, or rescind it, or authorize it, or whatever term you want to use. His role as commissioner of the NBA and owner of the Hornets is an obvious conflict of interests and the Rockets got screwed. You can’t wear two hats with millions of dollars at stake and teams and investors relying upon assumptions of prior practice.
Not much else to report from today. Except Steve Francis. May the Lord help him in whatever he is going through because, sitting next to Clyde Drexler, the former looked as if he were the older man. They played a clip on the big screen of the greatness of the All-Star Game, or something, and so alot of the highlights were of a now 33-year-old Kobe Bryant. Francis is 34. When Bryant came on screen, I looked over at Francis and followed his eyes. I wonder what he, still young enough to earn NBA paychecks, was thinking watching Kobe, at the same age as him, chase another MVP.
Robert Horry was also in the house. When I first walked in, I saw a really tall guy with a chubby face standing nearby. I thought to myself, “that guy with the chubby face is probably a basketball player.” Then I later realized that it was Robert Horry. He has put on quite a bit of facial edema since his Fresh Prince days.
That’s all for today. You can catch my recap of tonight’s game on ESPN.com.