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."