Owner is the key to the Gonzalez story

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

DANA POINT, Calif. -- A day after Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt told the Kansas City Star that the team wasn't going to trade Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, a source close to the player told The Associated Press he would be open to a trade.

The key, though, is what Hunt wants. If the Chiefs don't want to trade Gonzalez, they don't have to. Gonzalez acknowledged that much in early February when I caught up with him at the Pro Bowl. He said at the time he didn't know if he wanted to be traded, but said it didn't matter because he is under contract and the Chiefs will make the call.

Gonzalez, who had one of his best NFL seasons in his 12-year career in 2008, would be a terrific receiving option for new quarterback Matt Cassel. It is very easy to see why the team would want to keep Gonzalez.

The source close to him says Gonzalez is open to a deal because he wants to go to a contender. The Chiefs have won just six games the past two seasons and they have made modest upgrades to their anemic defense so far in the offseason.

Still, it would be highly unlikely for Gonzalez to cause a stink if the Chiefs held onto him. Gonzalez is revered in Kansas City and the future Hall of Famer will be forever linked to the city.

The impression I've gotten from Gonzalez has been that he does want to play for a contender, but it would break his heart to leave the Chiefs. And the bottom line in this situation is what the Chiefs want -- and it appears they want Gonzalez.