Yesterday I went on a bit of a rant on the Commissioner's obvious conflict of interest in cancelling the 3-way trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and 4 players to the Hornets (Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola).
Turns out that a lot of other journalists agree with me. Larry Coon probably put it in words best, but Bill Simmons and Ken Berger also piped in with plenty of disgust. The latter is especially notable as he works hard to remain pretty objective and rarely gets ruffled; you've got to really cross a line to piss off Mr. Berger. But Larry Coon's piece was my favorite. Even though his actual target is Dan Gilbert (who seems truly committed to demonstrating as clearly as possible that making billions of dollars is more about luck than competetence), he's much more eloquent than I was at making the point that Stern's ruling is irrelevant, because he shouldn't be making a ruling either way if the autonomy of the governorship of the Hornets has any validity at all:
Gilbert is using his position as part-owner of the Hornets to implore Stern to exercise his power as the fiduciary of the Hornets to make a ruling on behalf of the Cavs. This is a blatant conflict of interest. When it purchased the Hornets from George Shinn, the league put team chairman Jac Sperling in place specifically to avoid any conflict of interest. The only way the league can avoid such a conflict is by staying at arm's length -- by relying on Sperling's autonomy with the team. Instead the league has trumped Sperling, and trumped Hornets GM Dell Demps and his basketball staff.
Read the letter again. Gilbert talks about how it will help the Lakers, and he talks about how it will hurt non-taxpaying teams. Not once does he suggest that it's actually a bad deal for the Hornets.
Basically, the point is that any time the Hornets make any move at all that benefits any team at all (regardless of whether it's mutually beneficial or not), it is virutally by definition not going to be in the interest of about 26 of the Hornets' 29 owners (i.e. any owner not involved in whatever deal that the Hornets just made). There is simply no possible way, no matter what bullshit David Stern tries to tell you, that the owners of the Hornets can EVER avoid a conflict of interest in ANY ruling. This, ostensibly, is why Jac Sterling is the one who's supposed to call the shots, and if you override Jac Sterling, and I don't care if it's to cancel a trade of if it's to fire a ****ing janitor that Jac just hired, then you are officially acting unethically. Period.