When the then-New Orleans Hornets traded away Tyson Chandler to the Charlotte Bobcats for Emeka Okafor, Chris Paul and David West began privately discussing the possibility of leaving the franchise.
"[Paul] knew I was going to leave because I knew he was leaving. We had open conversations about that," West said. "The writing was on the wall probably the season, two seasons before that last year."
Paul embraced New Orleans, but the franchise was in turmoil for much of his tenure.
"The toughest thing was the instability. You just never knew what would have happen," Paul said.
Paul's brother, C.J. Paul, said the "final straw" was when West informed them he wouldn't re-sign in free agency.
"We had talked about possibly sticking together. But once he realized that I was gone, I knew he was definitely going to check out," West said. "It was time for us to find new space."
Said Chris Paul: "I missed David West. My partner. My right hand man."
Paul returns to New Orleans this weekend for the All-Star Game as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.