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Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

NEW ORLEANS ― The Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers have agreed to a deal, sending Chris Paul to the West Coast for several pieces in return, including an unprotected first-round pick in 2012.

New Orleans will send Paul and two 2015 second-round picks to the Clippers in return for guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman and forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Additionally, the Hornets will get the best pick between the Clippers' top choice and Minnesota's unprotected first-round draft pick for the 2012 draft.

The Hornets will be getting nearly everything they need a solid veteran backup at center, a young guard with a bright future and a young forward with potential, not to mention the draft pick.

The move, ultimately, is what commissioner David Stern was angling for when he turned down the first trade between the Hornets, Lakers and Rockets.

'Tonight's transaction is better for the hornets than the transaction that I did not sign off on four days ago,' Stern said, adding later, 'I know there was some criticism of the Hornets for seeking too much in both the 1st pick and Gordon. I think at the end of the day, for a player of Chris Paul's caliber, the Hornets were not seeking too much.'

Now that Paul has been traded, the Hornets should have the ability to sign other free agents and attempt to strengthen the team.

Stern, who still has ultimate authority on decisions as acting owner, believes this trade, combined with the 10,000-person season ticket base, has put the Hornets in position to be successful.

'The future of the New Orleans Hornets is better looking today than it has ever before,' Stern said.

Gordon (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) is a career 45 percent shooter, averaging 18.1 points per game. During the 2010-11 season, Gordon averaged 22.3 points and 4.4 assists per game.

Aminu, a 6-9 forward, entering his second season out of Wake Forest, averaged 7.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game as a rookie.

And then there's Kaman, a 7-foot center who can ably backup Hornets starter Emeka Okafor. Kaman averages 11.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in his eight-year career.

'In most negotiations it's a give and take,' Hornets general manager Dell Demps said. 'We were able to find a common ground. I think both teams are happy with the outcome.'

Paul has been pushing for a trade since the summer of 2010. The Hornets began trying to move him as soon as the lockout ended earlier this month.

But the NBA continually turned down offers, first a three-team deal between New Orleans, the Lakers and the Rockets and then a deal between the Clippers and Hornets.

'Dell never thought the deal could be done,' Stern said. 'Those who said that for attribution off the record were trying to force that deal.'

With the Clippers, the league was pushing for young talent, namely Gordon. Los Angeles originally balked, but eventually relented Wednesday evening.

Kaman is set to make $12.2 million in the final year of his contract while Gordon has two years left, including 2012-13, when the team can throw out a qualifying option. Aminu is still in his rookie contract, which will carry him through at least the 2012-13 season.

The move now is to come through with a long-term lease agreement with the state Stern said the Hornets were obligated to see out the expiring lease though its end and then sign off on a new owner.

As for where the league is in regard to selling the Hornets, Stern said many times it should be done sometime in 2012.

'Sole focus was and will be until we sell the team is how best to maintain the Hornets, make them as attractive and competitive as we can and ensure we have a buyer that will keep them in New Orleans,' Stern said.

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