The Charlotte Bobcats are finalizing a trade that would send Emeka Okafor to the New Orleans Hornets for Tyson Chandler, The Associated Press reported Monday.
The swap of 26-year-old centers wasn't expected to be completed until today and was unlikely to include other players. The deal would be another roster shake-up for the Bobcats since Larry Brown took over as coach last season. It could be a gamble because the 7-foot-1 Chandler has been plagued by a left toe injury and recently underwent surgery.
The 6-10 Okafor averaged 13.2 points and 10.1 rebounds for Charlotte last season and was re-signed to a six-year, $72 million deal before last season.
Chandler averaged 8.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in an unsettling season that saw him traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, then returned to New Orleans. The deal was rescinded because the Thunder had concerns about an injury.
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Chandler is to make $11.8 million in 2009-10, with a player's option worth $12.7 million in 2010-11.
Okafor is scheduled to earn $10.5 million next season, meaning the Hornets could lower 2009-10 payroll by $1.3 million. If the Hornets have to pay the league's dollar-for-dollar luxury tax, the savings effectively could be double.
Timberwolves acquire Atkins: The Minnesota Timberwolves picked up point guard Chucky Atkins, a 10-year veteran, from Oklahoma City in exchange for veteran center Etan Thomas and two second-round draft picks next year. Minnesota also got Oklahoma City guard Damien Wilkins in the deal, which gives the Timberwolves roster flexibility.
Mavs getting Gooden: The Dallas Mavericks have reached an agreement with free-agent big man Drew Gooden.
Gooden said on his Twitter page Monday that he had three deciding factors in his decision to join the Mavs: winning, playing time and money. He wrote: "Dallas is the team!"
Owner Mark Cuban did not return an Associated Press e-mail seeking confirmation of the deal but did post "Welcome Drew" on Twitter.