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Busy New Orleans agrees to deal with guard Jackson

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The New Orleans Hornets agreed to terms
Sunday with free-agent guard Bobby Jackson, adding another veteran
presence to an improving team.

Jackson's agent, Andy Miller, said Jackson had agreed to a
multiyear deal with the Hornets but wouldn't disclose the terms.

NBA teams were allowed to begin negotiating with free agents
Saturday but cannot officially sign players until July 12. Hornets
general manager Jeff Bower said the team planned to sign Jackson
after the moratorium ends but declined further comment, citing
league rules.

Jackson averaged 11.4 points and 2.7 assists per game and shot
39 percent from 3-point range last season, coming mainly off the
bench for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Word of his plans to sign with New Orleans came a day after the
Hornets confirmed they had reached agreement with three-time
All-Star Peja Stojakovic. Stojakovic's agent, David Bauman, said
that five-year deal would be worth $64 million.

Jackson and Stojakovic, who were teammates with the Sacramento
Kings for five seasons, will join a Hornets team that had a 20-win
improvement this past season and stayed in the Western Conference
playoff race until the season's final week, finishing 38-44.

"We want Bobby to be in a position to play in a wide-open style
and in a very specific role," Miller said. "With the personnel
that Jeff has put in place ... and what they did last year, we felt
this was the right time and the right place to put ourselves in a
situation where we could have a major impact."

The 6-foot-1 Jackson, who won the NBA's Sixth Man Award in 2003,
became a free agent after one season with Memphis. He made $3.375
million last season, the last in a six-year deal he signed with the
Kings in 2000. Sacramento traded Jackson to Memphis last August.

Jackson played 71 games for the Grizzlies last year, but missed
big portions of his final three seasons with Sacramento because of
injuries. He sat out 51 games in 2004-05 because of a torn ligament
in his wrist.

Jackson has a 10.2-point career scoring average in nine seasons
with the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento and
Memphis.

Hornets coach Byron Scott said last month that the team's top
offseason priorities were to add a shot-blocker and rebounder and a
shooter or two to open the game up for leading scorers David West
(17.1) and Rookie of the Year Chris Paul (16.1).

The Hornets used their two first-round draft picks on big men,
Hilton Armstrong of Connecticut and Cedric Simmons of North
Carolina State.

Jackson plays the same position as free-agent guard Speedy Claxton, a seven-year veteran who both backed up and teamed with
Paul last season in the Hornets' backcourt, averaging 12.3 points
and 4.8 assists per game. Team officials had said re-signing
Claxton would be a major offseason priority.

Miller said that people within the NBA are taking notice of the
Hornets' push to rebuild their roster.

"They have put the league on their heels," Miller said.
"Everyone is talking about how aggressive they're being right now
and that they're putting an emphasis on winning right now. But I
don't think they're stockpiling for today. I think they have a nice
blend of players to continue to have success now and in the
long-term future."

Miller, who also represents Rasual Butler -- another of the
Hornets' free agents -- said it's unlikely the 6-foot-7 forward will
re-sign with the team. Butler led Hornets regulars in 3-pointers
(92) and 3-point shooting percentage (38.0) last season.