- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Hornets and Kings have verbally agreed to a trade sending forward Carl Landry to New Orleans in exchange for shooting guard Marcus Thornton and cash considerations, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The deal is pending league approval and is expected to become official before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the person told The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because neither team has announced the trade.

The move gives the playoff-contending Hornets depth in the front court, but at the cost of a popular former LSU star who can score in a flurry.

With the Hornets hosting the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, Hornets coach Monty Williams held Thornton out of the morning shoot-around.

Williams says he told Thornton to stay home because of a pending trade, and he was not expected to play against the Clippers.

Landry, meanwhile, sat out the Kings’ loss in Miami on Tuesday night.

The 6-foot-9 Landry, a fourth-year pro out of Purdue, has averaged 11.9 points and 4.8 rebounds this season. He was acquired by the Kings in the middle of last season but has started only 16 games this season while vying for playing time with rookie DeMarcus Cousins.

The 6-4 Thornton is averaging 7.8 points in 16.2 minutes per game in his second NBA season.

While Williams cited NBA rules in declining to discuss the details of any pending trade, he was willing to talk generally about Thornton’s role on the club this season and his improvement as a player.

“To me, Marcus and I have had a great relationship since Day One,” Williams said. “He’s improved in areas that don’t show up in the stat sheet. To me, I feel good about that _ him moving forward. There were some defensive lapses, but he wasn’t the only one. … Marcus is a guy who has value around the league and is going to play for a long time.”

Apparently, the value that Williams spoke of is what made the Hornets feel compelled to part with him in order to improve their play inside behind starting power forward David West.

“Our bench has been one of the worst benches in the league,” Williams said. “It puts a lot of pressure on our starters to get leads, maintain leads and try to pull out games. … Your bench is vital to your team and it’s an area where I’ve probably failed in rotations and things of that nature to put the right guys on the floor at the right time.”

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