If Chris Paul gets traded to the Lakers in another ridiculous Gasol-type of deal, there will be no question in my mind that David Stern runs the league any way he wants to maximize profits.
There's always something that seems a bit too fairytale-ish about what happens in the NBA, just not as obvious as pro-wrestling. Just a few in recent memory.
#1 pick goes to Cleveland (and the "good luck" kid) after lebron debacle
Chicago gets #1 pick and hometown hero
Stars sent packing to LA, Boston, NY, Miami
Pau Gasol and 2 titles to the Lakers for garbage
Cleveland gets #1 pick and hometown hero
Lakers/Sac game 7
Jordan era - too many to choose
NY wins first lottery for Ewing
A lot of this has to do with stars WANTING to be in big markets. They have more power than in the past and can force moves. When a small market team sees a star leaving and getting almost nothing in retun they make bad deals. I'm sure there is some pressure from above but I doubt its WWF.
Look at Miami, those players decided to join eachother there. In todays market endorsements are often worth more than salaries so players are not as motivated to get the best $ deal from a team knowing Nike will suppliment them.