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Chris Paul says he loves New Orleans, but will it be the same next summer?

Sep 30, 2010, 9:14 AM EDT

Another sit down with Chris Paul, another discussion of him loving New Orleans and not looking to leave it. Right now, anyway.

Thumbnail image for cpaul_points.jpgThis time it was with ESPN’s Marc Stein, and Paul again did not discuss his trade demands from earlier in the summer.

“This city here, I love it,” Paul said. “And I don’t just say that. If somebody’s listening and we’re just talking one-on-one, they know how I feel about being here and the way this city has uplifted and embraced me.”

He seems sincere, but it is also a matter of timing. Right now, Paul has no real leverage because he has two years left on his deal. Next summer he will be in the same position Carmelo Anthony is now. He can say then “trade me or I’ll leave as a free agent.” (Unless Carmelo comes to New Orleans as a free agent… okay, let’s not start a new rumor, although CP3 did allegedly tell Melo New Orleans would be a great place to play).

Right now, Paul seems to want to see if Dell Demps can make the franchise a winner again, to really build something. But at the core of the issue is a proposed sale of the team from George Shinn to current minority owner Gary Chouest. Shinn has a reputation as a guy who will not spend, Chouest may change that. But right now the sale is stalled, as it has been since this summer.

What kind of changes Demps can really make with ownership up in the air remains to be seen. But he is getting the chance to prove to Paul that New Orleans can be a place he wins.

If not, the completion of next summer changes.

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