Hornets GM working on another Paul deal
WESTWEGO, La. (AP)
''We're talking about everything. Everything is on the table,'' general manager Dell Demps said Friday.
When asked if he was working with Los Angeles or Houston to resurrect the trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers but was rejected by the NBA Thursday night, Demps would not say specifically if he was talking to the Lakers.
The 26-year-old Paul was seen walking in the training facility Friday wearing a black Hornets practice jersey, and he appeared to be in good spirits and was fully participating when practice began Friday evening.
Demps said he has been given autonomy by the league — which owns the Hornets — to make another trade for the four-time All-Star guard.
''It would be real easy if Chris signed the extension, but the reality is he didn't sign the extension, so we have to do everything we can for the organization,'' Demps said. ''I wish he'd stay. I'm not going to lie about it.
''We love Chris. Chris is an incredible person here, not only to our organization but to the community,'' Demps added. ''We're doing everything possible that we can to keep Chris here. We offered Chris a contract extension, and Chris said that he's not ready to sign an extension at this time. We always knew that there was a possibility that this day would happen, and we are taking every step and every measure that we possibly can to bring a team here to New Orleans that represents the city so we can have the best team out here on the court.''
The Hornets had established the framework of a three-team deal that would have sent Lamar Odom to New Orleans and Pau Gasol to Houston. The deal also would have sent Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic from the Rockets to New Orleans, along with a 2012 first-round draft choice.
''Since that deal did not go through, we're going to keep plugging away and see if we can get a deal for the team,'' Demps said.
The Hornets were disappointed the deal was not approved.
''Of course, Dell (Demps) and Monty (Williams) were very upset when everything fell through,'' said a person familiar with the work the general manager and coach had put into negotiations that led to the proposed trade. ''They had spent a lot of time on it and they thought it was a great deal for the team.''
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the sensitivity of the situation.
Paul is a four-time All-Star who has the ability to walk in free agency after this season. He has so far resisted signing an extension in New Orleans, which has motivated Hornets general manager Dell Demps to try to revamp his roster by trading the star guard.
When the lockout ended, the Hornets had only five players under contract, including Paul. The others were center Emeka Okafor, forward Trevor Ariza, forward Quincy Pondexter and point guard Jarrett Jack. They all reported to camp on time.
Also returning for training camp was forward Patrick Ewing Jr., who was on the squad late last season but played sparingly.