BERKELEY, Calif. — With the Chris Paul trade finally behind him, New Orleans Hornets general manager Dell Demps is back to his regular routine of traveling the country nonstop focusing on his current roster and the franchise's future.
Demps attended the Hornets' 93-78 home loss to Phoenix on Friday night, then left home at 4:30 a.m. Saturday for the Bay Area. He arrived in time to have breakfast with his parents then attend the UCLA-California afternoon game to do some scouting. He planned a late lunch with sister, Darrell, before meeting up with the Hornets in Sacramento ahead of their Sunday game against the Kings. Then, it was off to Utah for New Orleans' game against the Jazz.
In a week's span, Demps will have hit five states. The Hornets opened in Arizona against the Suns on Dec. 26, and Demps traveled to Seattle on Thursday to see Oregon State at Washington. He took a redeye flight back to Louisiana for Friday's game before heading out of town again.
Demps reiterated his support for Commissioner David Stern, saying Saturday there "was never a deal in place" to send Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.
New Orleans traded Paul to the Clippers on Dec. 14 for guard Eric Gordon, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, center Chris Kaman and a first-round draft choice. Stern approved the swap, which was required because the Hornets are owned by the league.
Stern had taken heat for his role in nixing the first proposed trade of Paul to the Lakers, facing claims of potential conflicts of interest to hampering the team's pursuit of free agents. Stern said he was trying to do what was best for New Orleans.
Demps said there wasn't an agreement with the Lakers on money, which "was a huge part of the trade."
"Things got overblown," Demps said at Haas Pavilion. "The first trade for Chris Paul, it was never completed. The commissioner's office is getting unfairly portrayed. It escalated because the owner was David Stern and the player was Chris Paul. It was never submitted to the NBA. It was moving along but it was never finalized. There was never a deal in place."
Now Demps is back to the kind of whirlwind schedule he prefers following the frenzy of the last month dealing with the Paul trade and the rush to put together a roster that featured only five players under contract when the lockout ended.
"That's part of it. That's part of the calmness," Demps said of his hectic travel schedule. "This is normal. For me it's fun. I'm having a blast and getting to do something I love. I get to watch basketball and I feel I'm lucky."