Paul Requests Trade, Knicks on List
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Chris Paul has requested to be traded and the New Orleans Hornets have scheduled a meeting with the star guard on Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Paul will sit down with new head coach Monty Williams, new general manager Dell Demps and team president Hugh Weber in New Orleans, the person told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not made plans to meet with Paul public, and because Paul has not publicly demanded a trade.
The person also said that Paul, through his representatives, has told the Hornets he would prefer to be dealt to one of only a handful of teams, including the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic.
Paul, 25, cannot opt out of his contract for two years. However, he said at a recent charity golf tournament that he will be unhappy playing for the Hornets if they fail to demonstrate a commitment to winning immediately.
The only free-agency move the Hornets have made this offseason so far is resigning reserve center Aaron Gray.
The Hornets also have made it clear they have no intention of trading Paul.
Weber said earlier this month, while attending a community service event with Paul, that there was “no question” Paul would be in a Hornets uniform when next season opened. As recently as Tuesday, Weber also said that an exchange of text messages gave him the impression that Paul approved of the recent hirings of Williams and Demps.
After the Hornets came within one game of advancing to the 2008 Western Conference finals, Paul agreed to a four-year, $68 million extension that went into effect last season includes a player’s option for the fourth year.
Since then, however, the Hornets have traded center Tyson Chandler and fired coach Byron Scott, who both were close with Paul, all while the club’s performance went into steady decline.
The Hornets were bounced from the first round of the 2008-09 playoffs, then missed the playoffs entirely last season, during which Paul missed 37 games with three separate injuries.
Earlier this month, Paul cut ties with his basketball and marketing agents at Octagon and joined LRMR Marketing, an agency founded by his close friend and NBA superstar LeBron James.
Meanwhile, the Hornets have made several key changes since June, starting with the hiring of Williams, a former NBA player and first-time head coach. Williams has said Paul’s presence on the Hornets’ roster was one of the main reasons he wanted to start his head coaching career in New Orleans.
On Wednesday, New Orleans hired Demps, a first-time general manager who was a front-office executive for the past five years at San Antonio. Demps replaced Jeff Bower, who served as both coach and general manager last season after Scott was fired.