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Why The NBA Can't Do The Chris Paul Deal
CNBC.com | December 08, 2011 | 10:16 PM EST

On Thursday night, word swirled around the Twitterverse that Chris Paul could be on his way to the Lakers in a trade with the Rockets and the Hornets.

At best, the Hornets get a couple of starters and a draft pick.

At worst? An all out PR disaster for the league within minutes of ratifying its 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players.

When leagues have owned or controlled teams in the past, they have been careful to tread very lightly. While dumping players has less of an impact on the team's value than teams that aren't for sale, leagues don't want to get into a position of having the fans believe that they are trading players in order to control outcomes that are favorable to the league at large, namely large markets winning.

Out of all the four major leagues, the league the fans think have the most control over competitive balance is the NBA by a mile.

Now, let's get a little deeper.

New Orleans is a sensitive place to pick a fight. Ever since Katrina, it has been a place where no one in corporate America wants to be caught abandoning. Louisiana is the fifth poorest state in the nation.

They spend money on the Saints and the visiting teams love to make road trips to Bourbon Street. They've done less than stellar with the Hornets despite Paul's presence, though they claim to have sold 10,000 season tickets for this upcoming season.

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