If a report from Ken Berger of CBS Sports is to be believed, New Orleans Hornets superstar Chris Paul will have a new NBA home before the upcoming season begins...if he has his way. Paul's people have reportedly informed the Hornets brass that he wants to be traded to either the Lakers, Knicks or the Magic. From Berger:
Paul, in fact, has put into motion an aggressive exit strategy that will accelerate in the coming weeks, and his clear intention is to be traded before the start of the 2010-11 season, a person with direct knowledge of his plans told CBSSports.com Wednesday.
"He wants out," said the person, who has been briefed on Paul's strategy but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly. "He wants to play with another superstar. He wants to follow LeBron's model of teaming up with other great players."
Paul's list of preferred destinations consists of the Knicks, Magic and Lakers, and members of his inner circle already have sent word to the Hornets of his desire to be traded to one of those teams, sources say.
Granted, any report that relies on an anonymous source "with direct knowledge of [Chris Paul's] plans" is certainly suspect, but it would hardly be surprising if it is true. Indeed. Paul was none too pleased with how the team let former coach Byron Scott go last season, and more recently said that he'd be amenable to a trade if the franchise wasn't committed to building a championship contender. Oh, and there was that infamous wedding toast at Carmelo Anthony's wedding a few weeks back, where Paul was rumored to claim he and Anthony would join Amar'e Stoudemire in New York to create their own "Big Three".
From the Hornets perspective, if they could clear out Emeka Okafor's onerous long-term deal and get a pair of established young players, and possibly draft picks too, they'd have to entertain a move. Obviously, this isn't what new GM Dell Demps wants to be doing his first few days on the job, particularly considering it's almost impossible to get equal value back for a superstar of Paul's caliber. Still, if the team is convinced Paul will walk in two seasons when he becomes a free agent, they might be better served moving sooner rather than later.
For more on the Hornets and Chris Paul, check out At The Hive.