Hornets: Chris Paul did not request a trade

New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul returns to the lineup during action against the Boston Celtics in New Orleans February 11, 2009. Paul had missed four games with a groin injury. (UPI Photo/A.J. Sisco) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Per ESPN…

Hornets general manager Dell Demps says star guard Chris Paul did not request a trade during a meeting with New Orleans executives.

Demps says he is confident that Paul will be playing with the Hornets this season after Monday’s meeting, which included new coach Monty Williams and team president Hugh Weber.

In a statement released by the team, Paul says he likes what he heard during the meeting from the Hornets about the “direction they want to take the team.” Paul also says he hopes to remain with the team for years to come.

“The meeting went well,” Paul said in a statement. “It was great to get an opportunity to sit down with Coach Williams, President Weber and our new general manager Dell Demps. I expressed my desire to win and I like what they said about the direction that they want to take the team. I have been a Hornet my entire career and I hope to represent the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana for many years to come.”

There are two ways we can take this: 1) Paul is just saying the right things while his agent, Leon Rose, works behind the scenes to facilitate a trade, or 2) Paul is being genuine about wanting to stay in New Orleans.

One thing that the Hornets have going for them is the city itself. Between Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, the area has been ravaged by disaster and it’s tough for anyone of Paul’s stature to turn his back on the city.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this story plays out over the next few days. Does the trade talk die off completely or does it pick up? Paul’s statement would seem to indicate that he’s satisfied with the direction of the team, even though the Hornets did little to nothing to improve this offseason. They made no major or moderate free agent acquisitions and they traded away the #11 pick (which turned out to be Cole Aldrich) for Craig Brackens and Quincy Pondexter.

If the Hornets can convince Paul to swallow one more season of mediocrity, they are likely to have $20 million-plus in cap space next summer when David West opts out of the final year of his deal (which he is likely to do, since it only pays him $7.5 million). Even with Emeka Okafor eating up $13 million in space, that’s plenty of room to re-sign Marcus Thornton and add a quality free agent or two.

For the last few years, the deal that killed the Hornets cap-wise was Peja Stojakovic’s. Now it’s Okafor’s, which is funny because how much more is he giving the Hornets than Tyson Chandler would? Had they just held onto Chandler, they’d be sitting with around $33 million in cap space next summer when all those deals expired.

Stay tuned. This story seems like it may have run its course, but when there’s smoke, there is usually fire.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>