Former NBA commissioner Stern critical of Demps in SI story

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David Stern

Former NBA commissioner David Stern called the Pelicans’ Dell Demps a “lousy general manager” in a long-form story published Wednesday by Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballard.

While serving as commissioner, Stern was also New Orleans’ representative on the NBA board of governors in the period following George Shinn’s sale of the then-Hornets to the league and before the late Tom Benson purchased the team.

The subject of the Chris Paul trade just after the end of the 2011 NBA lockout drew Stern’s ire. In the process of trying to make the original three-team deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, Stern said Demps told the other general managers – Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers and Daryl Morey of the Rockets – he had the authority to make the trade.

“He didn’t,” Stern told Ballard. “I said no. We just settled a lockout and you want me to approve a basketball trade?”

Of course, the second version of the deal was approved, sending Paul to the LA Clippers for Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and a first-round pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers.

“Dell Demps is a lousy general manager,” Stern said. “None of those players (acquired in the Paul trade) are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”

Stern added, “No team sells or trades a future Hall of Famer without the owner signing off, and I was the owner’s rep.”

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