We know what new General Manager Dell Demps and new coach Monty Williams are going to say to Chris Paul today when the two sides sit down for their first face-to-face meeting:
Give us a chance.
Both have just been hired in recent weeks, both will say they have not had time yet to build and coach up a team around Paul yet. They will ask for that time.
What Paul responds remains the question mark — as does the situation with Hornets ownership. Whatever the best intentions and plans of the new GM and coach, without the ownership situation settled things remain in limbo with the franchise. And Paul is not a fan of limbo. (The place, he may well be very fond of the dance, we don’t know.)
Whatever the case, don’t look for Paul to be moved anywhere anytime soon. Look at what other teams are being told, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
“They say they aren’t moving him,” one rival team executive said of the Hornets.
Sources with knowledge of New Orleans’ thinking said over the weekend that the Hornets’ stance is unlikely to change, at least in the short term, even if Paul himself tells the Hornets for the first time that he wants out.
If you think the Paul’s preferred destination of the Magic are close, listen to what Stan Van Gundy told FanHouse:
“Much ado about nothing,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy Saturday told the Orlando Sentinel when asked about reports linking his team to Paul.
“We are only involved in this story because someone said he wants to be traded and someone said he wants to come to Orlando,” Van Gundy told FanHouse Sunday. “It’s a New Orleans and Chris Paul story.”
Paul has two years left on his deal. Even if he does want out, the Hornets have enough leverage to wait on a deal they really like.
And any deal they like will probably include someone taking back the contract of Emeka Okafor — four more years and $52 million. Okafor is not a disaster of a player — he gave the Hornets a solid 10 points and nine boards a game last season, with reasonable efficiency — but he is vastly overpaid. Rebuilding without Paul would mean the Hornets would want to get rid of the Okafor contract, which would be an anchor on any rebuilding efforts (sort of like the Elton Brand contract is on Philadelphia).
So finally the Hornets and Paul will sit down face-to-face today and has it out. But don’t expect any resolution soon.