Nets shed salary, send Jackson to Hornets

Updated: February 23, 2006, 7:13 PM ET
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The New Orleans Hornets added frontcourt depth Thursday by acquiring forwards Marc Jackson and Linton Johnson III from the New Jersey Nets for forward Bostjan Nachbar.

 Marc Jackson
Jackson

"Both of them are physical. Both of them are aggressive," Hornets coach Byron Scott said by telephone. "It just gives us a different look."

The Hornets had been looking to add depth in the frontcourt even before forward Chris Andersen was disqualified from the NBA last month for violating the league's drug policy. They got even more needy when Jackson Vroman broke his right wrist Wednesday following a dunk against Utah.

The Nets, meanwhile, were able to create some salary space with the deal.

"This enables us to get under the luxury tax, which was part of it," team president Rod Thorn said. "Nachbar's a good athlete who has had some moments in the league. We're hopeful he can give us some help on our bench."

Jackson, a 6-foot-10 forward, was averaging 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 37 games off the bench for New Jersey. In six NBA seasons, he is averaging 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds.

Jackson had publicly hinted at wanting to be traded in December, and his minutes had dropped steadily since January to the point where he appeared in only five of the team's 13 games in February.

"Marc Jackson is a banger, a very physical guy who can make shots," Scott said.

Jackson, 31, averaged 12 points and 5.0 rebounds in 81 games, including 23 starts, for Philadelphia last season.

"I don't think we can hope for that much. He'll be playing in a backup role here," Scott said.

Johnson, a 6-8 forward, has played in only nine games for the Nets, averaging 1.2 points and 0.8 rebounds in 3.9 minutes. He and Jackson join veteran forward Aaron Williams, who was acquired from the Toronto Raptors last month, as the backups to David West and P.J. Brown.

Vroman had helped fill that role following Andersen's dismissal. He started the last two games as leading scorer West was away with his wife and newborn child. Vroman was averaging 1.8 points and 2.1 rebounds, but will miss the rest of the season.

Nachbar, 25, started the first 13 games for the Hornets before spraining his right knee in November and missing six weeks. Desmond Mason, who was acquired in a preseason trade, supplanted Nachbar in the starting lineup and Rasual Butler's development as a dependable reserve left the 6-foot-9 Slovenian relegated to infrequent duty off the bench.

His role picked up the past two weeks, when he averaged 5.5 points over the past six games, including two 11-point performances. Nachbar averaged 5.0 points in 23 games overall this season.

"We would have loved to get a big without giving up anybody, but you've got to do what you've got to do," Scott said.

Scott said the Hornets were close to another deal, but ran out of time before the deadline at 3 p.m. EST deadline.

Thorn said the Nets spoke with several other teams Thursday but were unable to make any other deals. New Jersey holds two first-round picks in the 2006 draft.

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Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press