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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coach Williams urges Hornets not to trade Paul

WESTWEGO, La. (AP) Monty Williams would rather not contemplate making his NBA head coaching debut without Chris Paul.

News photo
Sting in the tail: New Hornets coach Monty Williams wants to keep point guard Chris Paul in New Orleans. AP PHOTO

So with trade talks intensifying as they often do in the final days before the NBA draft, Williams made it clear on Tuesday that he expects his new employers to turn down whatever offers they get for their biggest star.

"Chris was the main thing that excited me about this job," Williams said after a pre-draft workout Tuesday at the Hornets' suburban training center. "So many people are begging for a point guard. You're talking about the best one in the game. I couldn't envision being here without Chris."

The Hornets have the 11th overall pick in Thursday night's draft and likely could move up if they decided to deal their three-time All-Star.

Meanwhile, those teams which plan to pursue LeBron James in free agency might enhance their chances of success by trading for Paul.

Paul and James are close friends who spend a lot of time together in the offseason and were teammates on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team that won gold in Beijing.

When James premiered his documentary, "More Than A Game," in Akron, Ohio, last year, Paul was on hand to help promote it.

Hornets general manager Jeff Bower said he has received many calls about possible trades but declined to specify which teams, or how many, inquired about Paul.

"I'm not going to comment on rumors, regardless of confirming them or denying them or saying how believable or unbelievable they are because it's something that's going to be there all throughout the free-agent process," Bower said. "We have a duty to listen and have dialogue with teams about all of our players . . . and our job is to be aware of the interest in every player in this league, not only other (teams') players, but our own."

Bucks get Maggette

MILWAUKEE (AP) Seeking a scoring threat and willing to take on a significant contract, the Milwaukee Bucks acquired forward Corey Maggette in a trade with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

The Bucks also got a second-round draft pick from the Warriors, giving up guard Charlie Bell and center Dan Gadzuric in return.

Maggette played in 70 games with 49 starts for Golden State last season, averaging 19.8 points per game. He will be expected to provide offense for a team that may lose John Salmons, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

"Corey has been a consistent scorer throughout his career," Bucks general manager John Hammond said in a statement. "He shoots a solid percentage from the field and has shown the ability to get to the free throw line. We're looking forward to having him in a Bucks uniform."

Tuesday's deal leaves the Bucks with three selections in the second round of Thursday night's NBA draft.

Maggette, an 11-year veteran, ranked 19th in the league in field goal percentage (.516) last season and had the league's highest scoring average for a player who logged fewer than 30 minutes per game. He has three years and approximately $31 million remaining on his contract.

Bell played in 71 games with 39 starts for Milwaukee last season, averaging 6.5 points, 1.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game. Gadzuric appeared in 32 games with six starts, and averaged 2.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game.

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