Chris Paul has requested to be traded and the New Orleans Hornets have scheduled a meeting with the star guard for Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Paul will sit down with new head coach Monty Williams, new general manager Dell Demps, and team president Hugh Weber in New Orleans, the person told the Associated Press yesterday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not made public plans to meet with Paul, and because Paul has not publicly demanded a trade.
Paul, 25, cannot opt out of his contract for two years. However, he said at a recent charity golf tournament he will be unhappy playing for the Hornets if they fail to demonstrate a commitment to winning immediately; the only free agency move the Hornets have made this offseason is resigning reserve center Aaron Gray.
The Hornets also have made it clear they have no intention of trading Paul.
Weber said this month, while attending a community service event with Paul, that there was “no question’’ Paul would be in a Hornets uniform when next season opened. As recently as Tuesday, Weber also said that an exchange of text messages gave him the impression that Paul approved of the recent hirings of Williams and Demps.
After the Hornets came within one game of advancing to the 2008 Western Conference finals, Paul agreed to a four-year, $68 million extension that went into effect last season and includes a player’s option for the fourth year. Since then, however, the Hornets have traded center Tyson Chandler and fired coach Byron Scott, who both were close with Paul, all while the club’s performance went into steady decline.
The Hornets were bounced from the first round of the 2008-09 playoffs, then missed the playoffs last season, during which Paul missed 37 games with three injuries.
On Wednesday, New Orleans hired Demps, a first-time general manager who was a front-office executive for the past five years at San Antonio. Demps replaced Jeff Bower, who served as both coach and general manager last season after Scott was fired.
Matt Barnes, who started 58 games last season for Orlando, signed with the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers. Terms were not disclosed. Barnes said this week via Twitter he was headed to Toronto, but the deal fell through and the Lakers moved in to grab the seven-year veteran who will be joining his eighth team. That’s almost as many as new teammate Theo Ratliff, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers. The 15-year pro played 49 games last season with San Antonio and Charlotte, averaging 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. The Lakers will be the 37-year-old center’s 11th stop (and ninth team) . . . Carlos Arroyo, who made 35 starts at point guard for Miami last season, finalized his deal to return to the Heat. Arroyo averaged 6.1 points and 3.1 assists, plus had a stellar 4.17 assist-to-turnover ratio. He becomes the 13th player under contract with Miami . . . Chicago finalized a sign-and-trade deal with Golden State for guard C.J. Watson. The Warriors will get a 2011 second-round pick in the deal . . . The Pacers signed second-round draft pick Lance Stephenson, a 6-foot-5-inch guard, to a multiyear contract. Terms were not disclosed. Stephenson, New York’s all-time leading schoolboy scorer, was the 2010 Big East Rookie of the Year at Cincinnati.