Chris Paul to sit down with Hornets while his agent fields trade requests


cpaul_points.jpgIf you’re a team interested in trading for Chris Paul, don’t send your request to the New Orleans Hornets, they’re not interested. Paul has two years left on his deal and the Hornets want to keep him.

Send it instead to Leon Rose, Paul’s agent with Creative Artists Agency. He’s the one listening to offers and trying to set up a deal. You can also go through back channels with William Wesley to get a deal set up.

That’s really the state of this with Paul.

Monday Paul is going to sit down with members of the Hornets front office, including new general manager Dell Demps and new coach Monty Williams. And the Hornets will be serving plenty of Kool-Aid — “we’re going to build a contender here with you as the centerpiece.” “You are the heart and soul of this franchise.”

And Paul’s first question should be, “Who is going to own this team come the start of the season?” Is it George Shinn or Gary Chouest? If the Hornets can answer that — and they may not be able to — the next questions are about how much they can and will spend. The Hornets have reportedly tried to make deals that dump salary this summer, not add players.

Paul wants to win, and win now. He can see that future in New York or Orlando or Portland or Dallas, but not in New Orleans. He has gone off like Kobe did 2007, but the Lakers actually had some pieces (they had Andrew Bynum and were not going to trade him for what’s left of Jason Kidd) and some expiring deals they could turn into players. And the Lakers could spend — Los Angeles has always been profitable, and the team generates a lot of revenue. The Hornets are not a team deep in the black.

The Lakers could wait Kobe out. The Hornets say they are not trading Paul, but can they afford to wait him out? How will Paul’s request impact revenues?

Paul’s agent Leon Rose is not waiting. He is the one fielding trade offers, according to a story in the Times-Picayune.

“No one from our camp has said that Chris demanded a trade,” a Paul confidante said Thursday. “But they (Hornets) have not put themselves in position to win this season. We have the same team as last year, basically. The only thing that matters to Chris is winning.”

“Are they even calling guys and trying to get them to play?” the source said. “We would have loved to hear that Mike (Miller) had narrowed his choices down to the Hornets and Heat. But we’re never in the running for players.”

Which in the end comes down to ownership. Which remains unsettled in New Orleans. And until that situation is settled, Paul can be as frustrated as he wants there will be no good answers.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.