When the lockout ended, the Hornets had only five players under contract, including Paul. The others were center Emeka Okafor, forward Trevor Ariza, forward Quincy Pondexter and point guard Jarrett Jack. They all reported to camp on time.
Also returning for training camp was forward Patrick Ewing Jr., who was on the squad late last season but played sparingly.
Jack said he was with Paul Thursday night and that Paul, a friend since both players were around 12 years old, did not seem so much upset as confused about the uncertainty surrounding his status with the Hornets.
“I don’t think he feels any type of way about being here or not. It was just, `Am I traded? Am I not traded? Is it until tomorrow?’” Jack said. “It was just a state of confusion and going through something that we’ve never heard of before. I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
“He’s a New Orleans Hornets until we hear otherwise. … He was here at practice, gave it his all, came in here and was the same old player that he always is, going hard and leading by example,” Jack said. “He only knows what’s best for him, where he can ultimately be successful and he hasn’t come out and said this couldn’t be a place like that. I know the front office is working diligently to make some signings to make his comfort level increase and if that happens I’m sure he’ll be more than welcome to be vocal and say this is a place for him.
“And if not, then he’ll explore his options.”
Meanwhile, at Miami Heat training camp, another friend of Paul _ Dwyane Wade _ said he could only imagine what the Hornets guard was going through.
“We all understand it’s a stressful situation for him,” Wade said. “Hopefully it gets resolved soon. He can just focus on the game of basketball and move on. It’s crazy right now. For me to watch TV, it’s crazy, so I know for him to be in it, it’s got to be bananas.”
Notes: With only a handful of players on the roster when the NBA lockout ended, the Hornets brought in nine young free agents, many of them from the NBA Development League, on “make-good” contracts, giving them a chance to impress coaches enough to earn a roster spot. Those players were: C Brian Butch, G Justin Dentmon, G Jerome Dyson, F Moses Ehambe, G Terrico White, F Lance Thomas, G Carldell Johnson, G Trey Johnson and F DuJuan Summers.
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.