NBA AM: Chris Paul – “It is just rumors”
Chris Paul Ducking The Rumors: As rumors erupted this week again painting New Orleans guard Chris Paul as only willing to consider a deal with the Knicks. Paul himself played down the rumors yesterday saying he had no idea where they came from and that he was just focused on his team.
“It is just rumors; you can’t control it,” Paul said to John Reid of The Times Picayune . “It’s always going to happen, and it’s part of the game. I’m just happy to be back with my team.”
Last year just prior to training camp a similar set of trade demands were reported, suggesting that Paul’s agent Leon Rose demanded a trade last year, with similar New York only demands.
The Hornets met with Paul last year and according to the Hornets the reported “demands” expressed in the media, were never expressed in their face to face meetings.
When news of the latest series of demands surfaced, the response from New Orleans was they wanted to hear that from Chris himself.
Paul downplayed the notion of a trade demand again yesterday and said his focus was on the team he has.
“Right now, we only have five people on the roster,” Paul said. “I think our most important thing right now is trying to figure out what guys like D. West are doing, too. He’s like a brother to me. I’ve never played a season without him, so (I’m) trying to communicate with him as much as possible.”
Paul said he understands where the New York connection comes from, and that having been in New York so frequently this summer as part of the NBPA’s Executive Committee that negotiated the pending labor deal, he was actually happy to be home.
“I’ve been back and forth to New York 18 times this summer, and I was engulfed in all that,” Paul said. “I just now had time to actually see my family and actually take a deep breath and realize I’m finally getting a chance to play basketball.”
The Hornets are sitting on roughly $13.5 million in salary cap space, but have just five players under contract – Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack and second-year player Quincy Pondexter.
David West is the Hornets top free agent priority and he will likely consume the bulk of New Orleans’ cap space. The Hornets still hold the Bird Rights for Willie Green, Marco Belinelli and Carl Landry, all of which could either be re-signed without regards to the cap or signed-and-traded for value in return to the Hornets.
Carl Landry has been receiving considerable interest on the open market with the Portland Trail Blazers said to be the biggest suitor.
In order for Portland to obtain Landry they would either have to use their Amnesty provision to get under the Luxury Tax to regain their full mid-level exception, as the new labor deal penalizes teams over the Luxury Tax by reducing the amount if their exception money, or they would have to consummate a deal with New Orleans.
The Blazers are reportedly interested in using their one-time Amnesty cut to drop Brandon Roy and his $15.03 million 2011-2012 salary from the books. Such a move would move Portland from $73.423 million in cap commits, to just over the Salary cap line at $58.391 million in commits.
Acquiring Landry in a sign-and-trade would leave the Blazers their mid-level exception to add additional players, and it would insure the Blazers could outbid most of the other suitors at the table because the deal could be longer and include higher annual raises.
Shump-Shump Goes To Camp: We have been keeping up with Knicks’ rookie Iman Shumpert for most of the summer as he tried to stay active working out regularly at IMG Basketball in Bradenton.
With Knicks training camp just around the corner Shumpert sounds like he is ready to show what he can do and talks in depth about his road to being a Knick.
Unfortunately for Shumpert he is one of the only real trade assets the Knicks have, and with rampant rumors regarding Chris Paul, his status in New York is clearly up in the air.
The one saving grace for Shumpert is that once he signs his rookie contract next week he is untradeable for 30 days, meaning however the Chris Paul saga shakes out Shump-Shump will be a Knick for at least 30 days.
The Warriors Are Shopping: The Golden State Warriors have no intention of sitting out free agency. In fact, the Warriors have reached out to virtually every significant free agent, especially the big men in Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol and Nene.
The Warriors have about $8.8 million in salary cap space, but are telling player agents that they would do a sign-and-trade deal to land the right player and it does seem Golden State could be a market setter for players like Marc Gasol and Nene, whom the Warriors covet in a serious way.
The Warriors have also been linked to the Memphis Grizzlies with reports from the Bay Area suggesting a Monta Ellis-for-Rudy Gay swap was discussed.
Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News is labeling a deal involving Monta as unlikely, but mentions it as possible as well.
The Warriors could also opt to use their one-time Amnesty cut on a high dollar player like Andris Biedrins – owed $9 million this season and $18 million more over the following two years – to create cap space to pursue players. However, sources say their ideal scenario is to complete a sign-and-trade where they take on a little excess salary with their spacebut that the bulk of the acquired contract is in swapped salary.
There had been rumors the Warriors would consider using their Amnesty cut on David Lee, something sources close to the Warrior openly laughed off saying that cutting David Lee, last year’s big free agent acquisition, was not even close to an option.
Look for the Warriors to attempt to make that long promised splash, and it’s could be with one of the marquee bigs. The smart money would be on Tyson Chandler, who has all but hinted that his time in Dallas is likely finished. If there is one player begging to be overpaid to be in a new situation its Tyson and he may be far more obtainable that Gasol or Nene.
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