With New Orleans visiting to Oklahoma City tonight, both teams demonstrated a bit of frugality by completing a multi-player swap that won’t require additional plane tickets.

The Hornets are sending C Tyson Chandler to the Thunder in exchange for Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox, the draft rights to DeVon Dudley Hardin, a transaction that smacks of a salary dump for NOLA and a defensive windfall for OKC.  In the words of Hornets247‘s Niall Doherty, “what little faith I had the Hornets could compete for a championship this season is dead and gone.”

This really sucks, but I’m not sure Jeff Bower had much choice. With the economy the way it is, we were suddenly looking at a significant luxury tax penalty next season unless we could shed salary in a hurry. Tyson Chandler was our best trade chip due to his sizeable contract and the high demand for such a big man.

So the Hornets have acheived their goal of shedding salary. Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox come off the books this summer.

Of course, the real downside of this is that we definitely took a step back as a team. The Hornets’ interior D was undeniably weak with Tyson out injured, and neither Smith nor Wilcox will be able to defend the paint quite like TC could. Offensively, that pair might combine to give us a few more points than Tyson, but my guess is that they won’t be running the pick and roll with Chris Paul anywhere near as well as Tyson could.