Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
WESTWEGO, La. -- It was day five at the Hornets training camp in Westwego and one of the shortest guys on the court continues to be the elephant in the room.
Chris Paul was all business as he went through team drills.
But, the uncertain future of the apparent lame-duck face of the franchise gives the team great concern.
"It's certainly not his doing," said Hornets Coach Monty Williams. "It's one of those situations where you have to let the people handle it, who are handing it. I'm certainly not handling it."
Those doing the handling in the Hornets front office are getting their hard work handed back to them by NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Two major deals that would have sent Paul to Los Angles were vetoed by the league, which currently owns the team.
"The typical owner would be doing things to help the team," said Tulane Sports Law Professor Gabe Feldman. "It seems like David Stern might be thinking about the league, not so much the team here."
Paul has reportedly turned down a $100 million contract extension in New Orleans.
If the Hornets can't trade him, Paul leaves as a free agent at the end of the season, and the Hornets get nothing in return.
"You talk to most people in the league, they think for each trade the Hornets were getting a great deal," said Feldman. "But, I think David Stern does want to make sure that the Hornets are viable and that they are sellable to the potential owners that are out there."
The Hornets have two weeks before the start of the season to build a team, with or without Chris Paul.
"I'm not going to sit here and wine about who I have," said Williams. "I'm not going to do that. That's not who we are. It may not look good on paper to many of you, but for me whoever I have going into battle, that's who I have. I'm going to commit to those guys."
Feldman still believes there's time to get a deal done. But, he says every day that goes by, every team that signs another player, is one less option for Chris Paul and the Hornets.