The New Orleans Hornets have Chris Paul under contractual control for two more seasons — and they don’t appear in a hurry to get rid of him.
No matter what Paul says about moving on.
Sources told ESPN.com that teams inquiring about Paul’s availability in recent days — and there have been several after persistent media reports suggesting that Paul will formally request to be traded at a meeting Monday — were greeted with the same resistance to Paul offers that the Hornets have maintained for months.
“They say they aren’t moving him,” one rival team executive said of the Hornets.
Sources with knowledge of New Orleans’ thinking said over the weekend that the Hornets’ stance is unlikely to change, at least in the short term, even if Paul himself tells the Hornets for the first time that he wants out.
The Hornets’ new basketball brain trust of general manager Dell Demps and coach Monty Williams — with Demps hired by team president Hugh Weber only last Wednesday — is expected to use their first face-to-face audience with the All-Star guard to urge Paul to give the fledging regime an opportunity to prove it can build a winning team around him.
Yet even if they are unsuccessful with that pitch at the scheduled morning meeting, Hornets officials are apparently determined to hold firm and deal Paul only on their terms and timeline, knowing they have two full seasons before the 25-year-old can opt out and become a free agent in the summer of 2012.
Honestly, can you blame New Orleans for wanting to keep Paul. He is young, he is one of the game’s best players, he is the face of their franchise. Ideally, they would want to build around him rather than rebuild without him.