NEW ORLEANS - It seems not if, but when, the Hornets will part with the face of the franchise for every year since 2005.
The rumors about Chris Paul and what the Hornets can get for him are everywhere and though the Hornets brass has had little to say officially and Paul has had even less to say publicly, all of the national NBA reporters seem to be certain about one thing - Paul won't finish the season with New Orleans - he may not even start it there.
NOLA.com's John Reid reports that Paul has told GM Dell Demps that he doesn't want to sign a long term deal with the Hornets.
The team's catchy "I'm in" television ad that appeared on TV earlier this week had head coach Monty Williams in the spot that used to feature Paul.
Without an owner and as the team tries to push for 10,000 season tickets, the uncertainty around Paul, and to a lesser extent, the team's second most visible player - David West - is making this shortened season a tough sell.
As to what the Hornets might receive from a trade for Paul, ESPN thinks they could be looking at Golden State's Stephen Curry or the Clippers' Eric Gordon, though apparently the team is unlikely to get those prime players unless Paul agrees to sign a longer term deal.
NBA.com thinks the Lakers are the leading contenders for Paul's services right now with the report that any player save for Kobe Bryant is up for discussion.
Ken Berger of NBA.com says the suitors include Dallas, Golden State, Boston, the Clippers and Lakers.
CNNSI.com has figured out a way that Paul can make it to the Knicks even if they don't have much to offer in return.