May 5, 2011, 5:03 PM EST
Job No. 1 for the New Orleans Hornets: Keep Chris Paul.
Okay, maybe “find an owner to keep the team in town” is above that on the to-do list. But that is outside GM Dell Demps job description, he’s just trying to build a winner people will want to come see
Which brings us back to Paul, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after next season. Demps wants to talk to him about an extension, according to the Associated Press. Well, except for that little lockout thing getting in the way. But when he can he’s going to talk to him.
But Paul’s next move will likely hinge on seeing Demps and the Hornets continue to make moves to make the team better not just save money. Demps told the Times-Picayune he wants to be aggressive in free agency. Well, as much as a team without an owner can be.
But Demps knows he’s going to have to show Paul long-term potential for the Hornets.
“If the right situation presents itself, we won’t hesitate,’’ Demps said during Wednesday’s news conference at the New Orleans Arena. “I don’t feel like our hands are tied. You can make trades now as long as your team is not in the playoffs. We need to figure what opportunities are going to arise. We don’t want to think too quickly.’’
Demps identified re-signing power forward Carl Landry and the return of injured forward David West as vital. West, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in March, can opt of his contract by June 30.
Keeping West, Paul’s pick-and-pop partner will be key.
But that all circles back to ownership (currently the NBA, which means the other 29 owners) and when Demps has to spend. Or not spend. How tied are his hands?
All that is beyond what Demps can control. He’d just like to talk extension. Someday.
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