President Stern. I’m not sure it has that much of a ring to it – Jeanie Buss seems to think differently, though.
In an excerpt from her re-released book Laker Girl, which was published on ESPN, Buss says she “honestly” thinks that David Stern could run a country. She also doesn’t blame him for nixing the Chris Paul trade:
[pullquote]It was a very intense battle. Some of the owners were pounding David during those eight hours of negotiation, but he was like a ninja. He fought off every objection while striving for fairness and balance. The guy was amazing. He has an incredible ability to handle divergent opinions, reach compromises, and push through policies he feels are the most advantageous to the league as a whole. I honestly think that David, had he not become NBA commissioner, could have run a country.
I had fallen asleep on the plane after my flight took off. When I woke up, I learned the deal had been rescinded. David — for basketball reasons, he said, not because owners were complaining — had negated the deal. I don’t think David caved to the owners. The problem, in my opinion, was giving Demps the leeway to be the ultimate decision maker. As the general manager, he should have been required to get final approval from a higher level.[/pullquote]
Jeanie does make a good point; Del Demps was appointed as the general manager of the New Orleans Hornets by the NBA and agreed to the CP3 trade without getting clearance from ownership, and the league were the owners of the Hornets of the time, of course.
The whole thing was just one big mess. If the Hornets had a regular owner or GM then Chris Paul might be a Laker today – then again, a different GM or owner may not agree to a deal with the Lakers, anyway…