NBA Commissioner David Stern said two owners, one he identified as Cleveland’s Dan Gilbert, emailed him in protest of the proposed Chris Paul deal with the Lakers.

They had concerns about the Lakers, winners of two of the past three NBA titles, getting another marquee player at the expense of a small-market franchise. But Stern said he wasn’t pressured to halt that deal; he simply acted in the best interest of the franchise, as any other owner would.

“I know there has been a fair amount of comment about an email that I received from Dan Gilbert,” Stern said. “I assure all that first, my decision was made long before I received that email. And second, I wouldn’t have acted upon it even if I had received it because my goal here was how to improve the Hornets.

“Speculation as to why I did not want to have Chris go to a team in a large market because that would somehow have some impact the (new collective bargaining agreement). All I can say there is that’s not the responsibility I undertook as the person responsible ultimately for making decisions on transactions like this on behalf of the New Orleans Hornets.”