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Chris Paul trade rejected: Was it really to save NBA parity?

The NBA rejected a trade to send superstar Chris Paul from small-market New Orleans to the Los Angeles Lakers. In doing so, the league apparently made some small-market owners happy.

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Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant (r.) talks with New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles three seasons ago.

Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS/File

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When National Basketball Association owners and players salvaged a good portion of the current season with a new collective bargaining agreement, sports-labor experts were split over whether or not it would fix the main problem it set out to address: inequality between small-and large-market teams.

Now, little more than a week after that Nov. 28 announcement, NBA Commissioner David Stern has intervened dramatically to promote the let’s-level-the-playing-field idea, experts say.

Mr. Stern vetoed a three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul – a point guard who many consider the most dynamic since Magic Johnson – from the small-market New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers, a perennial contender.  

The move is being vilified by many sports analysts, who say the decision is autocratic and, in the end, not even in the Hornets' best interests. 

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