Free-Agency Talks Begin Today, Hornets Dell Demps Has A Lot On Plate

It’s been a whirlwind couple of days with the lockout effectively ending and Chris Paul rumours starting up simultaneously. Hornets fans haven’t been this precarious since last years trade deadline. It seems apparent now, more than ever, that the chances of Paul being traded have increased exponentially. 

Today we’re going to run through the list of items that is currently swirling around the Hornets and Dell Demps’ head. We know he has to be feeling the pressure, but in some ways he must love getting back to real work.

So with that let’s jump into it, I mean what choice do we have?

Training Facilities Open

For players this is the first sign that the lockout really is coming to an end. Facilities for all 30 NBA teams will open to players, with a few concessions. The first is that no coaches or staff can have any contact with the players (which is a little hard to believe).

Teams will be allowed to provide a strength and conditioning coach as well as an athletic trainer and his staff, according to sources, but no coaches or general managers will be allowed to observe workouts and team staff are not permitted to conduct drills.

Though trainers and strength coaches are allowed to be present and assist players, they are not permitted on the floor to supervise or participate in on-court drills, a source told’s Marc Stein.

“The strength and conditioning coach is only allowed to work with them in the weight room,” one GM told Bucher.

Players under contract, unsigned rookies and free agents are eligible to use the facilities, sources said. All players are free to use all facilities.

Dell Demps, Monty Williams or any other member of staff cannot observe the workouts, only trainers and strength coaches can be present, but they are not allowed on the court (unless of course, God forbid an injury occurs). This is welcome relief for the players who can finally get back into a routine, because they only have less than a month to get prepared for the NBA season.

General Managers Are Allowed To Talk With Player Agents

As awkward as it may be, General Managers are now permitted to talk with player agents and are now allowed to publicly comment on free-agents and roster moves, if they so wish. However, no verbal or written agreements can be made between the two parties until December 9 (though I have my suspicions they can verbally reach an agreement on December 3, don’t hold me to that though).

Everyone Wants Chris Paul, Except New Orleans

For the past 24-hours many of my fellow Hornets bloggers and I have been dealing with a barrage of Chris Paul rumors from every corner of the NBA. It’s been tough to swallow, some are even embracing it. I however am not. It feels like a waiter standing right by your table, asking you how the food is, while cramming it down your throat and then proceeding to insist on a generous tip.

Every NBA team will be after Chris Paul, just was the case 12 months ago. It’s no surprise that teams want one of the best point-guards in the league. What is surprising is the disregard for Hornets fans or even the notion that New Orleans might actually want to give Paul and the organisation a chance to mesh. I know what the trend looks like, but sometimes trends are broken…well maybe not.

Here’s a list of teams interested in Chris Paul:

I think that’s it, the Washington Generals have inquired but they can’t be reached for comment to affirm their interest.

Hey Look A New York Writer

I found this little tidbit from Rob Mahoney from the New York Times. He suggests the the Hornets could try and pull off something similar to that of the Miami Heat. He recognizes its risks, but Paul could potentially act as the Dwyane Wade and form his own group in New Orleans.

There’s some inherent risk involved, but if the Hornets -– a team faced with the possibility of losing one of the league’s true superstars -– aren’t in a position to run a gambit, what team is? Each of those aforementioned Hornets players is valuable, but if Paul were to leave New Orleans, they’d be out-of-place cogs on a lottery team. Those role players only make sense in the context of a squad that has Paul at its center, meaning that their singular value is secondary to an effort to keep the team’s superstar foundation intact. Retaining Paul should be New Orleans’ top priority, and if other assets are sacrificed in service of that, so be it.

Free agency would allow Paul to choose his future team, but this strategy would functionally allow him to create one of his own; it would make Paul a player rather than a mere playing piece. That may be the most attractive selling point of all.

It’s a very interesting prospect and everyone should definitely go and read the article. It’s a very risky strategy, but it could be a very, very bold strategy, one which would propel the Hornets to the top of the Western Conference. Of course, it would be dependent on Dwight Howard and Chris Paul to both hit free-agency at the same time and who’s to say that the Magic or Hornets don’t pull a trade before that?

Chris Paul’s Heart Is In New Orleans

Let me leave you with a little bit of an up-beat piece of news. Chris Paul spoke at Carmelo Anthony’s charity event in New York and this is what he had to say.

“I try not to pay attention to all that different type of stuff,” Paul said. “My heart is in New Orleans.”
“Oh man, I have no idea about that different type stuff,” Paul, 26, said. “I think right now the thing that I’m most focused on is getting all these boxes out of my house in North Carolina and getting everything shipped back to New Orleans so I can get ready for the season.”

I can tell you one thing Chris, you wouldn’t get this amount of pressure and scrutiny in New Orleans. We’d support you no matter what.

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