Ever since Chris Paul sat down with the management from the Hornets, he’s done nothing but say the right things.
Maybe he is giving them a real chance. Maybe he realized he has little leverage now but will in a year (like Carmelo Anthony does now). Maybe he realized that his agent and people pushing for a trade in a semi-public way drove down his trade value. Maybe some combination of the above.
For now CP3 keeps saying the right things, as he did on the satellite radio station The Score when asked if New Orleans is where he wants to be.
“Yeah exactly. That is where I am going to be. I love it. I love it.”
He goes on to rave about the city and it’s people. You’ll get enough of that tonight on Monday Night Football with the Saints, no need to go into it all here.
Paul may be able to push for a trade in a year (or whenever the lockout ends). He may decide not to. Really, until whatever happened with the ownership sale of the Hornets is more sorted out its not likely they would move the team’s one big draw and face of the marketing campaign.
So for now Paul is a Hornet. And still at least saying all the right things.
Remember three weeks ago when Lou Amundson was going to sign with a team in just a few days? Yup, that’s moving about as fast as Los Angeles traffic.
The Hornets are the frontrunners, according to Alan Hahn at Newsday, although the Pacers and Warriors may still be in the mix. Other teams also may be in the mix. He clearly wants more money than a nice backup big who can rebound, hustle, and defend can get right now. He has value, but the lucrative part of that market has moved on. A lot of lesser players are accepting lesser deals now.
According to Hahn a favorite of some Knicks fans — Earl Barron — is in a holding pattern because of Amundson.
Barron will not be back with the Knicks. New York signed both Ronny Turiaf and Timofey Mozgov, and of course who could forget Eddie Curry is still on the roster. There is no need for another center. Mozgov is the Knicks Barron for a new generation.
Barron played well enough in seven games to win over Knicks fans — and get himself another shot somewhere. But right now teams that want a backup big are looking at Amundson. Once he is off the market, Barron stands a chance of getting a gig.
Someone should give the guy a chance. If you play well, you should get your chance. Right? But instead, we wait.
It feels a little unfair to cast all New Orleans Hornets rumor in the “what does Chris Paul think?” category. But that is also the reality — keeping Chris Paul has to be a consideration in almost everything the Hornets do. It is Priority No. 1. And it should be Priority No. 2 also.
The Hornets made a move this summer to upgrade the play on the wings, bringing in Trevor Ariza and shooting guard Marco Belinelli.
But they had to ship out backup point guard Darren Collison to do it.
Which may mean they are not done dealing or signing, they still need a backup point guard and a backup center head coach Monty Williams told the Times-Picayune.
“My gut feeling is that we are not done yet, ” Williams said. “[General manager] Dell [Demps] and I share information on both sides. I talk to him about players and he talks to me about things we can do. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we work so well together.
More players will be helpful, but Williams needs to get more out of the guys he’s got to help get the Hornets back to the playoffs this year. That starts with Emeka Okafor, who seemed to float through last season a little and not find a comfort zone with this team. He needs to provide more of a balance for these Hornets, some inside to go with Paul and the improved outside.
Which is to say — the answers to some of the Hornets concerns may come from inside, not another move.
But some, like a backup for Paul, do indeed come from the outside.