Chris Paul met with the New Orleans Hornets‘ team officials today and apparently did not ask to be traded elsewhere. Rumors had circled the past several days that Paul wanted out and that he had a list of potential teams. After the meeting, Paul issued a statement basically pledging loyalty to the Hornets, while new GM Dell Demps said that CP3 never even ended up requesting a trade during the talk.
It was in the best interest of everyone involved to say those types of things regardless of what happened. Even if the whole meeting was in fact just spent with Paul insisting on being traded and then discussing possible options, there’s no way the organization would want to admit that. As I mentioned in my previous post, it puts the Hornets in a position of weakness if all the teams know that they feel they have to get rid of Paul. Likewise, Paul would know that and has already proven himself media-savvy by making his trade request through back channels rather than come out in the press to announce it himself.
This is NOT to imply though that I think the statements are false or ingenuous and that Paul is still secretly available. However, there clearly are issues here, and even if Paul has agreed to play the good soldier by giving his new coach and GM a chance to prove themselves, they’re clearly on the clock. He can’t get out of his contract for two years, so he currently has no bargaining power. The Hornets should have a full season to prove that they’re committed to winning and providing Paul with the help he needs to fight for a ring. If the team doesn’t make any strides forward this year, prepare for all the Paul trade rumors to percolate back up again next summer twice as loudly.