Tag:Monty Williams
Posted on: July 23, 2010 1:10 pm
 

Monty wants to hear directly from Paul

The next step in the drama surrounding All-Star point guard Chris Paul will happen Monday, when he will meet with New Orleans officials and decide whether to push his angst to the next level by formally -- and in person -- requesting to be traded.

Hornets coach Monty Williams, for one, wants to hear those words straight from his point guard's mouth before drawing any conclusions about their future together.

"We'll sit down with Chris on Monday and see what happens," Williams told CBSSports.com by phone Friday. "I'm as eager as anybody to see where this goes."

It is a critical time for Williams, who is only in his second month on the job yet already is facing a crisis that could affect the franchise for years. His key ally in Monday's sitdown with Paul, new GM Dell Demps, has only been on the job for 48 hours. Their goal will be to talk Paul out of his desire to be traded, which was first reported Wednesday by CBSSports.com .

"This has become a national story, and it's not a story," Williams said. "Nothing has happened yet."

On Monday, it will -- one way or another. As CBSSports.com reported Wednesday, Paul has decided he wants to be traded and has asked his new agent, Leon Rose, to inform New Orleans management that he prefers to be dealt to the Knicks, Magic or Lakers. Other teams have joined the mix since then, with sources saying that the Mavericks and Trail Blazers have been the most aggressive in their pursuit.

"Other teams are jockeying to get in the mix," said one person familiar with the league-wide pursuit of one of the most gifted point guards in the league.

Paul's desire, according to a person familiar with his strategy, is to follow in LeBron James' footsteps by joining forces with one or more elite players. While the Lakers are viewed as a long-shot scenario, the Magic and Knicks both present tantalizing possibilities. In Orlando, Paul would team with Dwight Howard, who already has informed Magic management that he wants to play with Paul. In New York, Paul would play the role of a younger, higher-octane Steve Nash by pairing with Amar'e Stoudemire in Mike D'Antoni's offense, which was invented for a point guard of Paul's exquisite gifts.

For starters, any team hoping to land Paul would have to take Emeka Okafor and his onerous contract, which pays him $53.2 million over the next four years. If New Orleans decided to entertain offers for Paul, the team also likely would insist on including James Posey, owed $13.4 million over the next two years. The Magic could offer Vince Carter, who has only $4 million of his $18.3 million guaranteed for the 2011-12 season, as well as draft picks. The Knicks don't have draft picks to offer, but since they're approximately $3 million under the cap, they could take back $3 million more salary than they send out in the deal -- a significant cost savings for the Hornets in addition to the $3 million cash the Knicks wouldn't think twice about adding to the deal. By acquiring Anthony Randolph and Kelenna Azubuike from Golden State in a sign-and-trade for David Lee, the Knicks also have young assets to pair with Danilo Gallinari and/or Wilson Chandler in a credible proposal for Paul.

Of course, if Paul escalates the trade request that has been made through intermediaries into a formal request Monday, the Hornets would be under no obligation to oblige him -- much less trade him to the team of his choice. Williams said the team's strategy for dealing with such a situation wouldn't be devised until after Monday's meeting.

Williams is putting up a brave front, and is genuinely looking forward to the chance to sell Paul on his vision for the team. But he and Demps, having stepped into a situation that was not their doing, also face the responsibility of reconciling the past year of turmoil in a way that makes Paul reconsider.

Those attending Monday's meeting for the Hornets will be Demps, Williams and team president Hugh Weber. It is not clear whether Paul will be joined by his new agent, Rose, who has not responded to calls from CBSSports.com to determine whether he is officially representing Paul after a 15-day waiting period following the end of his relationship with Octagon.

But one thing is clear: The job of selling Paul on the basketball reasons to stay will fall on the shoulders of Demps and Williams, who are dealing with a situation of this magnitude for the first time -- at least as the top decision-makers on an NBA team. The firing last week of experienced GM Jeff Bower -- and further, subsequent housecleaning in the front office -- have only made the organization more vulnerable at a time when Paul's impatience with the team's direction is at an all-time high.

After Bower was let go, the Hornets fired director of basketball administration Andy Loomis. Director of scouting Brian Hagen has survived the purge, but doesn't have a contract for next season, sources say.

As for Paul, Williams said he's texted back and forth with his point guard in advance of Monday's meeting. The Hornets' new coach sees the writing on the wall, but doesn't want to read what Paul or his representatives have to say -- he wants to hear it from him.

"All of this stuff has come out with no quotes from Chris and no quotes from us," Williams said. "... I just wish all this had been handled behind closed doors. This is not the way I like to operate, and I know this isn't the way that Chris likes to operate. We've communicated by text just to try to figure out where this stuff is coming from."

If by "stuff" he means smoke, then it's coming from the fire smoldering within Paul. On Monday, Williams will get a chance to put it out.



 




Posted on: July 17, 2010 11:20 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 12:38 am
 

Pritchard joins Hornets' interview list


LAS VEGAS -- In a fast-moving search for a general manager to replace the fired Jeff Bower, Hornets officials have interviewed former Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, former Suns executive David Griffin and Wizards executive Tommy Sheppard, with the intention of further escalating their search early next week, sources with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.

Griffin, who left the Suns' front office in the wake of team president Steve Kerr's departure, joins Sheppard, Pritchard and Spurs executive Dell Demps on the list of candidates Hornets president Hugh Weber has spoken with about the job. Demps has met twice with Hornets officials, including having dinner with coach Monty Williams Friday night. Demps and Williams were teammates in San Antonio and have been friends ever since.  Sheppard, the top assistant under GM Ernie Grunfeld, is a rising star among NBA execs and was instrumental in quickly and responsibly slashing the Wizards' payroll after the Gilbert Arenas situation last season. Pritchard interviewed for the job Saturday, two people familiar with the Hornets' search told CBSSports.com.

Due to their relationship, Demps is believed to be a prohibitive favorite for the job -- but also is a strong candidate to be installed as the personnel man under incoming Suns president Lob Babby, a former player agent who is scheduled to arrive in Phoenix Monday to be fornally introduced as the team's new head of basketball operations.

The Hornets also have expressed interest in former Trail Blazers execs Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn and former Kings assistant GM Jason Levien. Also, Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman is expected to be on the Hornets' radar. Weber flew back to New Orleans Sunday, and the Hornets are hoping to have a GM in place by midweek or the end of the week, sources say.






Posted on: July 16, 2010 11:15 pm
 

Hornets' coach to sit down with Paul

LAS VEGAS -- Hornets coach Monty Williams has read the reports indicating that Chris Paul is unhappy in New Orleans. But the Hornets' first-year coach isn't going to believe it until he hears it from his superstar point guard's mouth.

Williams plans to sit down with Paul for a face-to-face meeting in the near future in an effort to clear the air about the point guard's concerns and sell him on his vision.

"I want him to feel as excited as I am about where we’re going," Williams said after watching the Hornets' Summer League team Friday. "We have a bit of a new vision that I think is something that he can be excited about – and not just from an on-the-court standpoint. We’re working to get this thing continuing in the right direction."

Despite the fact that Wiliams has yet to coach a game for the Hornets, he already finds himself as the organization's lone basketball figure in the midst of a chaotic summer. The Hornets fired GM Jeff Bower this week and are in the process of hiring his replacement. Team president High Weber has scheduled interviews with Wizards assistant GM Tommy Sheppard and Kings assistant GM Jason Levien, and already has spoken with Spurs executive Dell Demps. Weber also wants to discuss the opening with former Trail Blazers execs Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn, as well as former Suns exec David Griffin, sources said.

Meanwhile, Paul was quoted earlier this month as saying that he's "open to being traded" if the Hornets aren't committed to winning and competing with the Lakers, Celtics and other top teams.

"All I've seen from him is that he wants to win," Williams said. "All that other stuff, I've never seen him say anything. Every article has been somebody speculating or someone from inside the camp. I don’t have a camp. I've got me and my wife and my kids, so I don’t even know how that works. All I've seen for him is that he wants to win. I hope so, because that’s what we want. That’s not my personality to jump on some rumor or conjecture. The things he tells me straight up, that’s what I believe."

A specific date for Williams' sitdown with his disgruntled point guard has not been set, and Williams doesn't want to intrude on Paul's summer -- which gets more interesting by the day. Last week, it was reported that Paul toasted to forming "our own Big Three" in New York with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony at Anthony's wedding. Williams spoke with Paul about his vision for the team after he was hired, but that was before Paul's recent comments.

"I tend to let guys do their things in the summer time," Williams said. "I don’t want to get down his back with all my plans and let my excitement get in the way of his summer. I had a chance to spend a week with him two weeks ago and we had a chance to talk about a lot of stuff. He’s on the same page with us and I'm excited about working with him."
Posted on: June 4, 2010 10:26 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2010 2:18 pm
 

Hornets offer coaching job to Blazers' Williams


LOS ANGELES -- The New Orleans Hornets have offered their head coaching position to Portland assistant Monty Williams, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.

The offer came Friday afternoon after talks broke down with Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau, whose indecision as he helps coach the Celtics in the NBA Finals bumped Williams from No. 2 on the Hornets' list to No. 1. Thibodeau also interviewed with Bulls officials in Los Angeles before the Finals began, signaling his desire to pursue jobs other than the one vacated in New Orleans when interim coach Jeff Bower returned to his full-time GM duties after the season.

Bower and Williams' agent, Steve Kauffman, are said to be in the preliminary stages of negotiations, with financial terms and certain key contractual details yet to be broached. But close friends of Williams, 38, who played for five teams during a nine-year NBA playing career and became Nate McMillan's most trusted assistant in Portland, say he is excited about the opportunity. No serious hangups are expected in the negotiations.

Thibodeau, who has a full plate with the Celtics down 1-0 in the Finals with Game 2 on Sunday, has now emerged as the leading candidate for the Bulls' job. After Thibodeau allowed a Thursday deadline to accept the Hornets' offer lapse -- a deadline that Bower has told friends he did not impose -- the Hornets conducted a lenghty second interview by phone on Thursday with Williams. The Blazers assistant performed well in the interview process, impressing Hornets officials with his preparation and enthusiasm for the job.






 
 
 
 
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