It seems that every contender in the NBA has made a big acquisition this summer to boost the team's chances next season. On Tuesday, it was the Hornets' turn.
New Orleans sent Tyson Chandler to Charlotte in exchange for former UConn star Emeka Okafor in a straight-up, one-for-one trade of 26-year-old centers. Both players were No. 2 overall picks in the NBA draft — Chandler in 2001 after coming out of high school, and Okafor in 2004 after winning a national championship and graduating in three years with Connecticut.
In Okafor, the Hornets get a guy who has averaged a double-double for his career (14.0 points, 10.7 rebounds) to complement Chris Paul and give the team a low-post scoring option. They also get a guy that they expect to be on the floor, as Okafor has played in all 82 regular season games the past two years — 39 more games than Chandler.
"Emeka is one of the premier centers in the NBA with All-Star caliber
scoring and rebounding averages throughout his career," Hornets GM Jeff Bower told ESPN.com. "His potential to improve is endless once you
put him on the court running with Chris Paul."
In return, the Bobcats receive the taller, more defensive-minded Chandler, who coach Larry Brown feels is a better fit for his system.
"We're getting a young kid who is long and athletic and can play multiple positions and fills a need that we obviously have," Brown told ESPN.com.
The Hornets tried to trade Chandler to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the middle of last season, but the deal fell through after he failed a physical. The 7-foot-1 center averaged 8.8 points and 8.7 rebounds last year with New Orleans but missed significant time with ankle and toe injuries.