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

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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.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

Minnesota Timberwolves Zach LaVine slam dunks the ball during the NBA all-star skills competition in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Associated Press
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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect. Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates:

Splash Brothers showtime: Klay Thompson beats Stephen Curry to win Three-Point Contest

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TORONTO — It came down to the Splash Brothers. Because of course it did. Just like last season.

In the final round of the NBA All-Star Saturday Three-Point Shootout, defending champ Stephen Curry hit his first eight shots and set the bar high with 23 points — the best score of the night.

His backcourt teammate Klay Thompson responded by draining his last seven shots, which included the entire money rack, and put up 27 points — tying the event record.

That gave Thompson the upset win and the Three-Point Contest title.

Although, is it an upset if the second best shooter in the game beats the best?

“It was like déjà vu last year,” Thompson said. “Not gonna lie, I got nervous when he hit his first eight, and I didn’t think he was going to miss. But it was exciting, just coming back to Oakland [with the title], you know. Back-to-back years for Splash Brothers, it’s pretty cool.”

So does Thompson have bragging rights?

“(For) about 364 days, and then — but that’s a daily thing we do,” Thompson said. “We love to shoot against each other. You know, I’ve never been on a team with someone who shoots it better than me, so it’s a privilege to work with him every day. He makes me that much better.”

The Final round was two you expected — the Splash Brothers — plus one few did, Suns rookie Devin Booker.

Getting there was not simple. In the first round, Thompson set a high bar going first and putting up 22. Curry got hot in the middle, then hit the last two money balls to reach 21. James Harden and J.J. Redick ( who stayed behind the line this year) scored very solid 20s. Later 19-year-old rookie Booker put up a 20 to tie those two veterans. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (13 points) Portland’s C.J. McCollum (14) and home-town crowd favorite Raptor Kyle Lowry (15) got bounced. .

That left Harden, Redick, and McCollum in a tiebreaker, and the rookie calmly put up a 12 in 30 seconds to advance.

Booker took a step back in the final round with a 16.

Not that it mattered with the Splash Brothers in the building.