By Marc Stein, ESPN.com and Chris Broussard, ESPN The Magazine
The chances of a Chris Paul trade before NBA training camps finally open Friday appear to be dwindling after the pace of Paul trade talks slowed Wednesday, according to sources close the situation.
The Golden State Warriors have effectively withdrawn from the Paul Sweepstakes by stressing to the Hornets that they simply won't include star guard Stephen Curry in any deal with New Orleans. And sources told ESPN.com that none of the other teams known to be Paul's most ardent suitors sweetened their trade offers Wednesday, despite the fact that it's now an open secret around the league that the Hornets want to move Paul before the season starts Christmas Day, hoping to avoid a repeat of the long-running drama that suffocated the Denver Nuggets for much of last season before they traded Carmelo Anthony.
It has been evident since Monday that the Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers are New Orleans' preferred trade partners, but one source close to the process told ESPN.com that talks between Golden State and New Orleans have gone "dormant" because of the Warriors' refusal to make Curry part of the deal without an assurance from Paul that he will stay beyond this season as opposed to bolting as a free agent in July 12. Clippers guard Eric Gordon is the other player New Orleans covets in a Paul deal on par with Curry, but L.A. has likewise insisted all week that Gordon is a "deal breaker," as one source put it.