The move gives the playoff-contending Hornets depth in the frontcourt, but at the cost of a popular former LSU star who can score in a flurry.
"This is a trade that benefits both teams as Carl is a player we have looked to acquire for a long time and we hope to be a big part of our long term success," Hornets GM Dell Demps said in a statement Wednesday. "Carl is a high character person that will add a scoring punch to our front court while providing toughness and the ability to make plays. In order to get a good player, we had to give up a good player."
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-foot-4 Thornton is averaging 7.8 points in 16.2 minutes per game in his second NBA season.
"He brings a scorer's mentality to our team and will certainly add an offensive threat to the backcourt with his ability to shoot from the perimeter," Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie said. "I think he'll improve the look of our team offensively and we're really excited about having him in Sacramento."
Hornets coach Monty Williams talked generally about Thornton at Wednesday's shootaround before the trade was official.
"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."
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."
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.