This was inevitable and predictable. And it doesn’t change one thing.
Chris Paul has officially denied that he has requested a trade to the New York Knicks. Here are the quotes via the Times-Picayune.
But two league sources confirmed after the story broke that Paul’s agent, Leon Rose, never made the request to the Hornets.
“It is just rumors; you can’t control it,’’ Paul said. “It’s always going to happen, and it’s part of the game. I’m just happy to be back with my team.’’
First, Paul likes New Orleans, he is very involved in the community there. This is not about the city or the fans. And Paul may have to play some or all of a season there, so he is going to say this is not him and that he just wants to play basketball and all that. He has to. That is part of the game.
This is not about the Big Easy. This is about Paul wanting to win and seeing a team without an owner and without direction in a small market. It’s hard to see how the Hornets become competitive soon.
Neither Paul nor his agent made direct contact with Hornets GM Dell Demps and say, “trade me.” That’s not how this works, people leave themselves plausible deniability. It’s done though an intermediary but the message is clear nonetheless. At some point Demps and Paul (and his agent) will talk directly, face-to-face. Don’t expect the message to really change.
But that’s not what they will say to the press. It will be CP3 saying he loves New Orleans and he just wants to play basketball. It will be Demps saying the team’s priority is to sign Paul to an extension. It is a dance they will do for as long as this thing plays out. But Paul is leaving New Orleans and that is not changing, it’s just a matter of how and where.