Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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Chris Paul's hostage crisis is finally over and I suppose this was always going to be the end game.

This is what David Stern and his cronies were angling for in the CP3 sweepstakes.

The Hornets agreed to trade Paul to the L.A. Clippers early Wednesday evening, ending a seemingly never-ending seven-day charade of zaniness due in part to information leaks and hand-shake deals that likely were consummated in smoky backrooms with fellas in top hats and expensive three-piece suits.

Let it be known I think the Hornets came out ahead with the trade.

The mix of young and veteran talent, not to mention what will likely be a high pick in the first round, should infuse New Orleans with enough for them to be competitive this season and more importantly, the long term.

But to me, the travesty of the whole saga is how it was carried out.

The NBA lost a lot of clout and a disgruntled point guard under contract, mind you got his way.

The appearance will be, and in this case appearances likely aren't deceiving, that the NBA forced this trade.

That commissioner David Stern coaxed the Clippers into a trade it apparently originally didn't want part in reeks of the term shenanigans.

Los Angeles didn't want to move Eric Gordon, inserting Eric Bledsoe in the original trade. But the NBA said no and all but forced the Clippers into moving Gordon instead.

By Wednesday afternoon, nearly everyone involved was tired of everything involving CP3.

Perhaps point guard Jarrett Jack, one of Paul's trusty associates, spoke for everyone when he said, 'I think everybody is ready for it to end if it's done right. ... I know he doesn't want to get sent somewhere he doesn't want to go. I know we don't' want to get back players we don't want. That'll just make it even worse. It'll prolong us getting back to where we want to get to.'

Now, Paul and the Hornets both got what they wanted.

It only took some strong-armed tactics by the NBA to make it happen.

It's the inherent flaw in a league's office owning and running one of its franchises.

Perceptions, whether real or imagined, will almost always taint and color proceedings poorly.

There's little doubt that Stern and his associates were trying to do only what they thought was best for the franchise and its eventual sale to a new owner.

But by filching authority from general manager Dell Demps, the league destroyed its credibility.

At least one positive comes out of Wednesday's deal the hostage situation is finally finished.

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