Last week, Chris Paul trade talk hit a frenzy before the Hornets went public and stated they had no intention of trading their star point guard.
This week, a league source told me that the Blazers actually made some progress toward landing Paul.
According to the source, the Blazers got close to a deal with the Hornets last week that would’ve sent Andre Miller, Joel Przybilla, Nicolas Batum, Jerryd Bayless and the 22nd pick to New Orelans for Paul and Emeka Okafor before Hornets GM Jeff Bower pulled out of the deal claiming that their owner wasn’t ready to trade Paul.
The Hornets no longer need to trade Paul for financial reasons. The trade they made on draft night with the Oklahoma City Thunder got them out of the luxury tax, so that’s no longer the issue.
The issue is whether Paul is now unhappy enough to force a trade. The Blazers believe he is and will continue to pursue a Paul deal. They won't be alone.
The Magic also have been pursuing Paul and Okafor, offering expiring contracts and Jameer Nelson. And there are two other teams that could offer the Hornets even more.
Both the Knicks and Nets are planning to step up pressure on the Hornets if they don't land LeBron. Both teams have tons of cap space and can offer massive cap relief to the Hornets (to the tune of $100 million) if they take Paul and Okafor off their hands. The Knicks could also offer Danilo Gallinari. The Nets could offer Derrick Favors and Devin Harris.