Hornets general manager Dell Demps reiterated his support for Commissioner David Stern, saying Saturday there “was never a deal in place” to send Chris Paul to the Lakers.

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. “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.”