Has the NBA ever been THIS messed up?

Forget for a minute that NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s decision to kill the Chris Paul trade was ill-advised. And for those who for some reason couldn’t see a year ago what a terrible decision it was for the NBA to buy the New Orleans Hornets in the first place, can you see it now?

And forget for a minute that the Lakers were giving up an awful lot to get an oft-injured Chris Paul, and the speculation that they were dumping salary in the process so they could lure in Dwight Howard… which may be the real endgame David Stern was maneuvering to block.

Those are great talking points to be sure, but frankly everyone is talking about them.

What I want to know is:

Why are players and media being notified that they are being traded before the deal has cleared every possible hurdle in the first place?

If the NBA had any semblance of management acumen, it would have procedures and policies in place mandating that trade deals must be kept confidential until every approval is secured.

The fact that the Chris Paul, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom trade could be stopped at all AFTER the players were notified makes the NBA the laughing stock of the business world, much less professional sports.

And its stink of the mismanagement of US basketball at its highest levels rubs off onto the game of basketball itself.

A circus would be ashamed to run this way.

And where is NBA Players’ Association big wig Billy Hunter? Isn’t Hunter being paid to represent players’ interests?

I read today on Twitter that Lakers power forward, Pau Gasol, one of the nicest guys in all professional sports, is “devastated” to learn he was traded. Can you blame him? Many blame Pau for the Lakers’ collapse against Dallas in the 2011 playoffs, so you know Pau was looking forward to getting back on the floor in a Lakers uniform to redeem himself. Here is Pau’s own tweet on the matter.

And Lamar Odom told L.A. Times reporters, “Maybe I’ll see you there, but I doubt it. You don’t want to go to no place you’re not wanted.” True to his word, the L.A. Times Lakers blog reports that while Pau showed up to training camp this morning, Lamar Odom did not. You certainly can’t blame Odom for feeling this way, although I’m sure the NBA will anyway and fine Odom for it.

And on CBSsports I read that Chris Paul is fuming about the blocked trade and will not show up to training camp, regardless the fines by the NBA and the Hornets — for the time being are one and the same. Can you blame him?

Fans’ patience has been tested as they endured a year of NBA owners and players quibbling over how to divide billions of dollars between them… now this?

I tell you, the NBA is a real mess.

There is absolutely no reason why NBA owners and players could not have arrived at the deal they ratified this week months ago. No reason at all. And because neither party insisted on clauses in the new collective bargaining agreement to prevent a future work stoppage due to disputes, you seriously have to wonder about the incompetence of those involved.

Perhaps it is time for fans to demand Stern and Hunter resign and make way for a new generation of management.

Seriously. They sit atop an empire with revenue measured in billions of dollars, and with customers so loyal and dedicated they even buy shirts with NBA employee numbers and names on them… and STILL you find a way to screw this good thing up and alienate fans even more?!

I have a new catch phrase for the NBA 2011-2012 season: Unbelievable.

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