Dell Demps Press Conference
December 9, 2011
New Orleans Hornets general manager Dell Demps addressed the media for about 10 minutes at a Friday press conference in the Alario Center. Here is the transcript:
Opening statement to the media:
First of all, I want to thank you guys for allowing us to try to do everything we can to put the best possible team (on the court) for the city of New Orleans. Weve been in work-(and)-sleep-(only) mode, away from our families.
On Chris Pauls status:
Everyone knows the big elephant in the room regarding Chris Paul. That situation right now is we love Chris. Chris has been an incredible person here not only to our organization, but to the community. If you go around town, you see the Chris Paul basketball courts and the stuff he does in the community with his foundation. Were doing everything possible that we can to keep Chris here. We offered Chris a contract extension, and Chris said hes not ready to sign a contract extension at this time. We always knew that there was a possibility that this day would happen. We are taking every measure and every step we can to bring the best team out on the court to New Orleans, tirelessly to get that team. Currently we have six guys under contract. With the new rules just coming out, were studying the rules and trying to get contracts signed.
On the three-way trade talks with Houston and the Lakers:
We were in serious talks, but the deal was never finalized I want to make sure I say that. Were resuming talks, in general. Were back to work. Were trying to fill out our roster and do everything we can. We only have six guys right now.
On the NBAs response to the potential trade:
I think it was a deal that we felt as an organization was not one we wanted to do. Since that deal did not go through, were going to keep plugging away and see if we can get a deal for the team.
On Chris Pauls future:
Do I envision Chris being here? Thats tough. Im not going to lie to you guys. Sometimes I dont talk (to media) because I dont want to lie. It would be real easy if Chris signed the extension. But the reality of it is, Chris didnt sign the extension. We have to do everything we can for the organization. I wish he stayed. Im not going to lie. But it is what is.
On what Chris Paul said to him about what transpired last night:
I have not talked to Chris since last night. I met with Chris earlier in the week, we had a really good conversation, we laughed, we shared stories. Hes a good person. I dont want people to hate Chris Paul. I want to make sure I say that. I dont hate Chris Paul. I understand whats going on here. I like him as a person. I think his parents did a great job, he has a great foundation, hes a good person.
On if the Hornets filed an appeal to the league:
No we did not. We did not.
On if a deal can be done in the wake of what transpired:
Yes. People are still calling. People are still calling and were calling people, so were confident we can get a deal.
On if other free agent signings have been put on hold:
No , its moving parts. If you walked into my office right now, you would see its moving parts. We have a lot of things on the table right now and theres option a, b, c, d, d1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Were just doing everything we can.
On what he has heard from the league in terms of making another trade involving Chris Paul:
Yes, weve been given autonomy to make another trade. Well give them proposals. Its not a different situation. Theres many times where a deal is in place and an owner comes in and nixes a deal. That happens a lot. A lot of times, it doesnt become public, but this time is a public issue because one, were talking about Chris Paul, and were also talking about David Stern as the Commissioner of the league. This is something thats not new. I think if you ask any general manager, theyll tell you that owners many times nix deals that general managers think are good deals. Thats just part of the business, so were just going to keep plugging away.
On how league ownership, Jac Sperling and David Stern are involved with the team:
Jac Sperling, hes actually in New York right now at the league offices. Im in communication with him and were talking with them right now. Not just on Chris, but theres a lot of other deals in place right now. We have a lot of free agents that were hoping to bring back. We had some guys that had some really good seasons last year that helped us get to the playoffs. So were in constant communication right now about three or four times a day.
On the report he almost resigned last night:
No, Im not quitting (laughter). I did read that. Thats not true at all. I never one time thought about resigning. Im having the time of my life. Believe it or not, Im having fun. This is what Ive wanted to do my whole life and its fun. I think I have good problems. I dont even think its a problem, I think its a challenge and an opportunity actually. Im having a blast, theres no chance of me resigning.
On what he is looking for:
I look for a good team. I feel bad were out there right now and I want to take my hat off to the guys that are coming into camp. A lot of these guys have an opportunity to make the team. Theyre out there right now and you dont know the names on the back of the jerseys, but I think we did a good job of getting some guys in here that could be impact players on our roster. If you look at our roster from last year, I think every on our roster got an opportunity to play, and Im talking about real minutes, and I think its great for the guys in the D-League. I was in the D-League. I coached in the D-League and I played in the minor leagues as a player and these guys are getting a real opportunity to be seen and coached by who I think is a very good coaching staff and coach Williams. So we look at this as an opportunity to really see these guys. Theyre going to get the reps now that they might not if our full roster was here.
On David West and Carl Landry:
David made it very clear that he loves Chris but theyre not connected at the hip. ... We have talked to David and his representatives and we have also talked to Carl and his representatives and like I said, were trying to get the best team we possibly can back on the floor.
On uncertainty entering training camp:
Its not the greatest thing, but, you know, its also part of the situation. We dont want to rush into something and make a bad deal. The timing on this one is a little different because of the work stoppage and were just getting the rules and going through all the rules. Thats been a big part of it. Were reading through the collective bargaining right now and making sure, because theres a lot of rule changes. Not a lot but theres little ones so sometimes you find little snags when youre trying to do certain things.
On his goals:
I think what we want to do is build a program. We want to build the team where theyre good, they compete at the highest level and also have an opportunity for the future. We dont want to just put everything into this year. We want to be a good team that competes at the highest level and we also want to start a developmental program.
On how he found out the trade was not approved:
I talked to our president Hugh Weber.
On which teams are making offers for Chris Paul now:
Were talking about everything. Everything is on the table. So were back to work and everything is on the table.
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