HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU — Chris Paul is still a member of the New Orleans Hornets. And at this point, you have to start thinking about the possibility of Paul being in uniform when the Hornets play their first preseason game in Memphis on Friday night.
On Monday afternoon, multiple outlets reported that the Los Angeles Clippers were pulling out of the latest negotiations with the Hornets (and/or the NBA league office).
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the league-owned New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers could not complete their proposed Paul trade because the Clippers ultimately decided the NBA’s asking price for the All-Star guard was too high.
At the NBA’s direction, sources said, New Orleans was insisting upon the inclusion of both shooting guard Eric Gordon and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round draft choice in addition to former All-Star center Chris Kaman and prospects Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe.
The Clippers found the demands “too steep,” according to one source close to the process, even after Paul told the Clippers he would invoke the 2012-13 option in his contract as part of the trade, ensuring that L.A. would have him next to Blake Griffin for at least two seasons
Paul is a special player, but that’s a lot of assets to give up if you’re not sure he’ll be staying beyond next season. Now, we must wonder what it’s going to take for the Hornets/NBA to part with Paul and if a trade is even possible at all with the league owning the team.
Meanwhile, the only players that the Hornets have signed are training camp fodder. Their roster is basically Paul, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack, Emeka Okafor, Quincy Pondexter, and nine guys you’ve never heard of. And Monty Williams has to get them ready to play a game in four days.