Saturday , Jun , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook?

Demps laughed at Internet speculation there has been trade talks between the Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder regarding point guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

“(Thunder GM) Sam Presti and I, our offices used to be right next to each other, so we still text each other all the time, and I can assure you that has not been a conversation we’ve had,” Demps said, cracking a smile as he spoke to reporters.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Losing players in free agency leads to speculation. Losing games also leads to speculation.

It`s no surprise there was speculation that the New Orleans Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder were considering swapping Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook.

Paul can opt-out of his contract next summer. He can leave New Orleans as a free agent. The Hornets will get nothing back. 

Meanwhile, Westbrook, fair or not, became the scapegoat for the Thunder losing the Western Conference Finals to the Mavericks.

Critics felt he was trying to get his offense at the expense of teammates. And critics felt his score-first mentality will make it difficult for the Thunder to take the next step.

A trade makes sense for both parties, right?  Well, wrong.

Hornets GM Dell Demps denied ever having a conversation about swapping point guards with Thunder GM Sam Presti.

It`s a no to the inquiring public. The real, unofficial story could be different.

Demps and Presti came up together with the San Antonio Spurs. They were tight. And still are. Demps admitted they text each other all the time.

Know this: NBA executives are no different than you or I. They do business with executives they trust and like.

For instance, Kevin McHale, when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves, wrapped Kevin Garnett in a bow and gave him to former teammate and friend Danny Ainge, who was and still is boss of the Boston Celtics.

For instance, Jerry West played a part in Pau Gasol leaving Memphis for Los Angeles. West was once the front office Tsar for both the Grizzlies and Lakers.

If Paul for Westbrook happens, it will be because of the relationship between Demps and Presti.

After all, what’s a swap of All-Star table-setters between friends?

–Oly Sandor.

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