Hornets Point Guard Paul Doesn't Request Trade

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hornets star guard Chris Paul did not request

a trade Monday in his meeting with new coach Monty Williams and top

team officials, general manager Dell Demps said.

Demps, essentially in his first day on the job since his hiring

last week, added that he was confident Paul would still be with New

Orleans when the coming season opens.

The meeting was held at an undisclosed downtown location before

Demps made his way back to the Hornets' corporate offices to meet

with reporters.

Although Paul did not speak with the media, the team released

statement from him that indicated the three-time All-Star and

Olympic gold medalist was encouraged by the Hornets' recent

coaching and front-office overhaul.

"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," Paul's statement said. "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."

Paul has two years remaining before he can opt out of his

current contract with the Hornets. However, he said at his charity

golf outing earlier this month that he would welcome a trade if the

Hornets did not demonstrate a willingness to give him a supporting

cast that would make the club good enough to compete with any team

in the NBA.

Only days after making that statement, Paul fired his agent and

hired Leon Rose, who also represents LeBron James. Paul also agreed

to work with James' LRMR marketing agency.

Soon after, Paul's representatives told the Hornets that Paul

was interested in being traded, but the Hornets countered by

scheduling a meeting in New Orleans that included Demps, Williams

and team president Hugh Weber, Paul's brother, C.J. Paul, and Rose.

"It was a very productive meeting. I was encouraged," Demps

said. "It was the first time I met Chris. It was a good

opportunity for us to open the lines of communication. Chris had

some very good points. ... He was energetic, he was open, he was

honest. He showed that he wants to win, and that's what we want to

do, as well."

Williams and Weber stood nearby but did not comment as Demps

discussed the meeting with Paul, which Demps said lasted about an

90 minutes.

While Paul cannot force a trade, the Hornets opted to trade

Baron Davis during the 2004-05 season when he had a falling out

with the club. New Orleans then began a rebuilding process that

essentially began with the drafting of Paul in the summer of 2005.

Paul went on to become rookie of the year and quickly became the

face of the franchise. In fact, a poster-size photo of Paul's

smiling visage is the first thing that greets those who walk into

the Hornets' corporate offices on the 19th floor of a downtown high

rise near the New Orleans Arena.

Demps said he hoped Paul would not become disruptive as long as

he remains in New Orleans.

"I don't anticipate that," Demps said.

Demps did not go into detail about the Hornets' presentation to

Paul. He said for competitive reasons he needed to keep much of

what they discussed private.

The Hornets' payroll is close to the NBA's luxury tax threshold,

and team officials have said they do not want to pay the tax or

take on new debt while a planned sale of the club from majority

owner George Shinn to his partner, Gary Chouest, is pending.

Still, Demps asserted, "There's always ways to be creative."

"I'm an optimist. I think that we'll sit down and evaluate the

roster and look at all our pieces and move forward and do what's in

the best interests of the organization."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)