And the Chris Paul happiness train rolls on….
CP3 expounded to Ian Thompson of Sports Illustrated on a few issues, all ones that are good reasons to stay in New Orleans long term. That starts with David West.
“I trust him more than anybody in this league,” Paul told me last week in New Orleans. “Out of everybody in the whole NBA, that’s my guy. We’ve been together for six years — six years! — and I trust him with anything. My fiancée and his wife are like best friends. Basketball-wise and off the court, I trust him.”
“When decisions are made [on the team], everyone always says, ‘It’s [up to] Chris,'” said Paul. “But it’s really up to me and D-West. I mean, D-West was here before I got here. You ask these guys on the team they’ll be, like, ‘C, what time do you want me to practice tomorrow?’ I’ll be like, ‘D-West, what time do you want to practice tomorrow?’ Because D-West is like my big brother, has always been.”
Just for the record, I like it when the coaching staff decides when practice is. Just write it on the white board in the locker room after the game, assume that your players are smart enough to read and show up on time. Like professionals. That’s just me.
In the end for Paul, it’s about a chance to win.
“Tony Parker is a really good friend of mine,” said Paul. “When they beat us [in the second round of the 2008 playoffs], after Game 7 we didn’t talk for about a week because I was kind of upset — and he let me know about that, too, when I did get a chance to talk to him. But he was like, ‘CP, man, you’re about one guy away.’ At the time, we could count on me and D-West to give us 25 and 25, but you’ve got to have that third scorer consistently. He was breaking it down to me with [the Spurs],where some nights him and Timmy [Duncan] would have it on, and if he didn’t have it on, Manu [Ginobili] would pick it up.”
Getting that third player — winning, in truth — will come down to the sale of the team and the pocketbook of incoming owner Gary Chouest. For that reason, the sale of the team from the tight-fisted George Shinn is the other key to keeping CP3 in New Orleans. That is supposed to be happening. Soon. Just like it was in April, but they mean it now.
Again, we’re in the wait and see camp with CP3. This summer Paul’s people did push for a direction — either get serious about winning or move him. Paul is happy and the Hornets are winning in November. We’ll see what tune he’s playing after the playoffs and next summer. Maybe it will still be some sweet New Orleans jazz. Maybe. But we want to wait and see.