Chris Paul may love the idea of playing with good friend Carmelo Anthony in New York, but a source familiar with Paul's thinking said the New Orleans Hornets point guard knows being dealt to the Knicks is not a realistic possibility.
"He has not asked for a trade to the Knicks because he knows the Knicks don't have anything to offer," the source said. "He wouldn't insult the Hornets by doing that."
The source did not confirm or deny reports that a representative for Paul has told the Hornets their point guard wants to be traded to the Knicks, but league sources say team general manager Dell Demps will not take any action until he hears directly from Paul regarding his intentions.
The first day Demps could be allowed to talk to Paul is Dec. 9, when commissioner David Stern hopes to open training camps and fully lift the league's labor lockout.
What will Demps hear that day? Apparently, not even Paul may know. "At this time, he is weighing his options and deciding what the best thing to do is," the source familiar with Paul's thinking said.
If Paul leaves the Hornets, the source said, he would want the team to be content with the assets it receives in return. Paul indeed has gone out of his way to pay respect to New Orleans and the Hornets' organization by refusing to give any credence to persistent speculation that he is looking to go elsewhere.
The only time he has publicly indicated a desire to do so occurred at Anthony's wedding reception last summer, when Paul made a toast suggesting he and Anthony needed to join forces to compete against the newly formed Big Three in Miami of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Paul, eyewitnesses say, said it in a joking fashion. But stronger hints that they should unite on the Knicks were made in subsequent toasts by other guests, including Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire.
The problem facing the Knicks is that they sacrificed the bulk of their young talent to acquire Anthony from the Denver Nuggets at last season's trade deadline.
Ric Bucher is a senior NBA writer for ESPN The Magazine.