This just can’t happen to a professional sports league in the United States.

The New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers all agreed to a three-team trade that would send Chris Paul to L.A., Pau Gasol to Houston and Kevin Martin and Lamar Odom to New Orleans, along with some other moving parts. The deal was done. Until the owners decided to step in.

The Hornets are owned by the other 29 team owners, so technically, they do have a say, and they let their voice be heard. And commissioner David Stern really liked what he heard, and he killed the deal. For “basketball reasons,” whatever that means.

As a result, the NBA has opened itself up to a heaping amount of criticism — something the league should probably try to avoid after a months-long lockout during which the owners fought tooth and nail to squeeze every last penny out of their investments (or as they’re more commonly known, basketball teams).

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, everybody’s favorite NBA emailer, sent a message to his fellow owners, and the message was discovered by Yahoo! Sports.

“It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed,” Gilbert wrote, though it’s unclear if he used Comic Sans font. I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen. I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do. When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?”

Good one, Dan! And I’m glad to see that instead of working to improve your godawful team that finished 19-63 (second-worst in the league), you’re worrying about what a competent franchise like the Lakers is doing. That’s great, Dan. I don’t remember you calling your team the Washington Generals when LeBron James was scoring 30 points a night in your arena. Maybe you’re just still in a hissy fit that he left.

The NBA also become the butt of thousands of Twitter jokes, but among the most scathing words written about the NBA were those of Ken Berger, whose headline on CBSSports.com said it all: “Nixed Paul deal makes NBA look like second-rate bush league.”

“We are ruled by a dictator,” a league executive told Berger.

“Make no mistake, this is pure ugliness — warped, second-rate foolishness you’d expect to find in some half-baked, fringe semi-pro league office in Topeka or Toledo,” Berger wrote. “This is the NBA becoming the Bad News Bears right before our horrified eyes.

“[It’s] a fine way to take something that was already going to be a struggle — a lockout-shortened season filled with bad blood and worse basketball — and turn it into something far worse,” Berger added. “The punchline of a sorry excuse for a joke, under a circus tent growing more inflated by the minute.”

Despite the thousands and thousands of words that have been used to bash the NBA, Chris Paul, at the center of all this nonsense and reportedly considering a lawsuit against the league, was able to succinctly describe the situation with a simple, one-word tweet.

David Stern, Dan Gilbert Help NBA Look Like Complete Joke by Nixing Chris Paul Trade

Photo of the day

Fill in the blank: The NBA, where _______ happens!

David Stern, Dan Gilbert Help NBA Look Like Complete Joke by Nixing Chris Paul Trade

Quote of the day

“I think baseball needs to have a steroid-testing policy for owners.”
–Sports economics professor Andrew Zimbalist, to The Associated Press, about the wild spending in baseball this winter

Tweet of the day

You and every other B’s fan.

David Stern, Dan Gilbert Help NBA Look Like Complete Joke by Nixing Chris Paul Trade

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Video of the day

Way to go, Albert Pujols.

(As a side note, it’s time that this trend of parents filming their children in order to make funny videos comes to an end. At the same time, we all need to stop watching. I recognize that I’m not really helping this situation.)