As we reported on Sunday, several NBA executives said the expectation was that the New Orleans Hornets would not be acting quickly to move Chris Paul, even if that's his demand in Monday's meeting with the franchise's new hierarchy.
ESPN's Marc Stein had a report today that said front office sources said the Hornets aren't moving Paul even if he tells them he wants out.
The player in this case has no leverage, so the Hornets can hear him out, understand his reasons for wanting to leave and spend the next year (or two) trying to change his mind until they absolutely HAVE to deal with the situation -- before his opt-out in 2012.
In the meantime, the Knicks can see what they have in Raymond Felton, continue to develop a collection of young players and, of course, keep tabs on another all-star point guard in Tony Parker, who they might be able to acquire sooner -- and slightly cheaper -- without costing them a shot at Carmelo Anthony.
The idea here is to form a Big Three, but if acquiring Paul means giving up Danilo Gallinari AND giving up cap space for Melo, then there is no Big Three.
And that's Paul's greatest motivation in coming to the Knicks, which is why the Orlando Magic -- who already have Dwight Howard and a solid supporting cast that also includes Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis -- may have leaped over the Knicks on his "wish list," as recently reported by Chris Broussard.
The Hornets will take their time here, as they should. This is Dell Demps' first run as an NBA general manager and, despite what Isiah Thomas may be whispering to "friends" behind Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni's back, Dell has a greater loyalty right now to his career than to Isiah, who in 2005 promoted him from scout to Director of Pro Player Personnel. Don't look for another Pau Gasol-to-Lakers here. That deal was pushed by Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley, not GM Chris Wallace, who has to carry that awful trade on his resume for the rest of his career and the early suggestions that he did it out of loyalty to his former boss and Laker legend, Jerry West.
What will get Demps and the Hornets to eventually make a move will be the approach Paul's impending opt-out and, of course, an offer they can't refuse. Let's be crystal clear here, Fixers, the Knicks do not have the latter. Not right now.
But they could still be in play for Parker, who, according to friends, absolutely wants out of San Antonio if he's not Gregg Popovich's choice as the starting point guard. If Pop maintains his affinity for George Hill, as he did in the playoffs, then Parker, who is seeking a max extension, wants out. And the Spurs have less time to make a move with him than the Hornets do with Paul because Parker becomes a free agent in 2011.
Fans love trade rumors and roster moves, but the Knicks might be at a point right now where the roster has to settle in for a few months. This is stuff to consider in February, before the trade deadline, when we have a better feel for where the Knicks are, what they need and what kind of assets they have to offer. You can also get a better assessment of Felton, who can't be included in a trade until Dec. 15. How will he respond to the idea that he just signed a two-year deal, hasn't played a game yet for the Knicks and people are already talking about better alternatives and when he can be dealt?