Acting as the top executive of the Hornets, NBA Commissioner David Stern would not allow Hornets general manager Dell Demps to complete the deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers and Pau Gasol to the Rockets with Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic going to New Orleans.
Stern said in a media conference call last week that he was only "generally informed about the discussions with teams." He emphasized that Demps never thought the deal to be complete and that his decision as final say on the move was not unlike the customary role of owners during trade negotiations.
But according to two individuals with knowledge of the talks, Demps had assured Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak throughout the day that Stern and other NBA officials had been given all the details of the deal and had signed off on it.
"He said that David was briefed and that it was a done deal," one of the individuals with knowledge of the talks said. "He (Demps) said multiple times that he briefed both of his local officials, (Hornets president) Hugh Webber and (Hornets chairman) Jac Sperling, and they and Dell at regular intervals were updating (NBA vice presidents) Stu Jackson and Joel Litvin and that they told David himself throughout the day. Also, Hugh and Jac, who were updating the league office, understood it to be a deal."