As if we were expecting Chris Paul to pull off his jersey and toss it aside as he exited the court...
The all-star point guard posted a statement via his Twitter account -- actually it was too long for 140 characters, so it spilled over to Twitlonger -- about his meeting today in New Orleans with team president Hugh Weber, new GM Dell Demps and new coach Monty Williams:
The meeting went well. It was great to get an opportunity to sit down with Coach Williams, President Weber and our new General Manager Dell Demps. I expressed my desire to win and I like what they said about the direction that they want to take the team. I have been a Hornet my entire career and I hope to represent the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana for many years to come.
It reads like a very prepared, very calculated statement that doesn't offend anyone and also doesn't exactly commit to anything, either. The "hope" is to represent NO for "many years to come." There are two years left on his current contract and the Hornets basically have that much time to convince CP to turn that hope into reality and sign an extension.
UPDATED: 3:30 p.m. (ET):
Demps held a press conference in New Orleans after the meeting and said Paul never made a formal trade request and Demps expects Paul to start the season with the Hornets.
Demps was asked if he felt the situation has the potential of being a season-long distraction.
"I hope not," he said, "I don't anticipate that. I don't think so."
This was Paul's only play, really. He obviously can't say anything inflammatory -- such as demand a trade -- because he could be subject to a fine from the NBA for "statements detrimental to the NBA," like the $25K Nate Robinson was slapped with in December when his agent, Aaron Goodwin, said his client should be traded if Mike D'Antoni wasn't going to play him.
As we've been telling you here, Paul can try to push the trade agenda via backchannels all he wants at this point, but with two years left before he can opt-out of his contract and become a free agent, the Hornets are under no obligation to deal him. All Paul can do is hope a team, preferably one on his reported "wish list" (Knicks, Orlando, Portland, Dallas), continues to pursue the matter and comes up with a trade offer that makes sense for the Hornets.
The Knicks don't have one right now, so it benefits them for this process to take a little more time. Coincidentally, Raymond Felton's contract expires in two years, just in time . . .