Trade talks resume involving Paul
New Orleans, LA – The switch has been flipped back to the on position for trade talks involving New Orleans Hornets star guard Chris Paul.
"Everyone knows the big elephant in the room regarding Chris Paul," Hornets general manager Dell Demps said. "We're doing everything possible that we can to keep Chris here. We offered Chris a contract extension, and Chris said he's not ready to sign a contract extension at this time. We always knew that there was a possibility that this day would happen."
Paul practiced Friday, the first official full day since the NBA lockout expired.
Earlier in the day, NBA commissioner David Stern said there was no "influence" from other owners in the league's decision to block a proposed three-team trade that would have sent Paul from New Orleans to the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul was the center piece of the trade between the Hornets, Lakers and Houston Rockets.
"We were in serious talks, but the deal was never finalized," Demps said. "I want to make sure I say that. We're resuming talks, in general. We're back to work. We're trying to fill out our roster and do everything we can. We only have six guys right now."
Reports indicated that the Hornets would have received forward Lamar Odom from the Lakers and guards Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic and forward Luis Scola from the Rockets. Houston, meanwhile, was said to be landing Pau Gasol from the Lakers.
There were additional reports that some owners were against the deal and swayed Stern to nullify the transaction. Yahoo! Sports obtained an email sent from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to Stern, which in part called the proposed deal a "travesty" and urged the commissioner to let the "29 owners of the Hornets" vote on it.
"I think it was a deal that we felt as an organization was not one we wanted to do," Demps said. "Since that deal did not go through, we're going to keep plugging away and see if we can get a deal for the team.
"People are still calling and we're calling people, so we're confident we can get a deal."
Paul, who can opt out of his current contract with the Hornets after the upcoming season, did not demand a trade. Instead, the Hornets appeared to work out a deal that may have enabled the franchise to acquire talented players rather than lose the All-Star point guard for nothing as a free agent.
"We've been given autonomy to make another trade. We'll give them proposals," Demps said. "It's not a different situation. There's many times where a deal is in place and an owner comes in and nixes a deal. That happens a lot. A lot of times, it doesn't become public, but this time it's a public issue because one, we're talking about Chris Paul, and we're also talking about David Stern as the Commissioner of the league. This is something that's not new. I think if you ask any general manager, they'll tell you that owners many times nix deals that general managers think are good deals. That's just part of the business, so we're just going to keep plugging away."