- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Warriors have the expiring contract of Dale Davis to build a package around, but it's believed that other players from both teams would be involved -- as well as future draft considerations going to the Hornets -- to convince New Orleans to part with its former All-Star guard.
What's clear is that the Hornets are moving away from their recent belief that it would be better to trade Davis in the summertime. The Hornets originally planned to hold off on moving Davis until he returned from injury and built up some renewed trade value. It is now more likely than not, sources said, that the 25-year-old is moved before Thursday's deadline.
Davis, who returned to the Hornets' lineup Wednesday in a home loss to Seattle, appeared in only 17 of New Orleans' first 53 games because of back, heel and ankle ailments.
The former UCLA star would relish a move to his home state, according to sources, where Davis would be paired with Jason Richardson in a potentially high-scoring backcourt.
Davis returned to practice Monday and told ESPN.com after the workout that last week's criticism from coach Byron Scott about the speed of his recovery from an ankle injury made him feel unwanted by the Hornets.
Yet Davis insisted he wouldn't personally push for a deal before the deadline and that he'll have no problems playing for Scott if there's no deal. That's even though, according to Davis, the two didn't speak at Monday's workout.
"I think it is getting to a point to where I just don't feel like I'm wanted (by New Orleans)," Davis told ESPN.com on Monday night. "I have a great relationship with my teammates, but at certain times I do feel that way -- I'm not going to lie. But I'm here to play basketball, and play as hard as I can. Once I'm 100 percent and back on the court, Byron will coach and I'll respect him as my coach. I'm going to listen to my coach like I've always done."
Davis' name has been mentioned in trade speculation since the summer, when his agent, Todd Ramasar, suggested Davis was disappointed by the Hornets' quiet offseason and might seek a trade elsewhere.
Davis left the Hornets for Los Angeles earlier this month to rehabilitate the heel and ankle while the club was away on a West Coast trip. Just before the All-Star break, with Davis scheduled to rejoin the team on Feb. 11, Davis suggested he might benefit from more rehab time in L.A. to improve his lateral movement. Scott angrily sent word to Davis to stay in his hometown.
"I wasn't happy and I didn't want to hear any more, so I said, 'Let him stay in L.A. and do whatever he's doing,' " Scott said. "There was no reason for him to be here, honestly, the way guys are connecting right now."
Jamal Mashburn, who might never play again because of ongoing knee trouble, faced similar criticism from the Hornets last season for rehabbing at home near Miami instead of in New Orleans with the Hornets. Davis, though, said he would have returned to the team if he had been summoned back and came away "shocked" by Scott's contention that the 11-43 Hornets -- 9-14 since Jan. 7 -- might not need him around now.
"I was just shocked because it was a (knock) on my character," Davis said. "I've always been a person to play hurt. I've played hurt in the playoffs. So I was a little upset at first, but at the same time, that's his opinion.
"I came back (Monday) because I'm getting closer to playing, so I felt it's good to be back with my team and let them see my progress, even though nobody called and asked me about it. I am on the right path. Everything is getting stronger. But I'm not going to rush back for anybody if I feel like I'm not ready."
In spite of the injuries, Davis said he weighs about 215 pounds, roughly 10 pounds below his listed weight. The feeling among some general managers around the league is that the Hornets have grown increasingly open to trading Davis because of the progress of recent pickup Dan Dickau.
"My main thing right now is just getting back out on that court and showing people I'm still one of the best players in this league," said Davis, who has $63 million over four seasons left on his contract after this season.