The Kings agreed to trade forward Carl Landry to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for guard Marcus Thornton and straight cash on Monday. Landry was acquired almost exactly one year ago in a deal that sent high-scoring guard Kevin Martin to the Houston Rockets.
An unrestricted free agent on the final year of his contract, Landry was unlikely re-sign with Sacramento after winning only 20 of his 81 games with the team. Although he's been a respected and classy veteran player, he also did not live up to expectations as both his productivity and playing time declined significantly with the Kings.
A one-time leading candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year Award in Houston, the 6'7" forward was relegated back to a reserve role early this season after starting all 28 contests with Sacramento in 2009-10. Landry has averaged 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game over the last 37 games (35 off the bench), a far cry from the 16.2 points and 5.5 rebounds he put up as a Rocket the previous year.
After demonstrating superb strength and craftiness in the post (8.1 FG attempts at the rim per 40 minutes) in Houston, Landry unexpectedly settled for more outside jumpers with the Kings, attempting only 4.4 shots at the rim and an alarming 4.5 shots from 16-23 feet. His Player Efficiency Rating dipped from 21.1 over the first half of last year to 15.0 this season, while his true shooting and rebound percentages have also taken sizable dips.
In return, the Kings receive the type of outside shooter they’ve missed since Martin's departure and a quick, aggressive guard to shore up the backcourt depth and likely play alongside Tyreke Evans down the line (Evans is expected to miss three weeks with ongoing plantar fasciitis). A second-round pick in 2009, Thornton shined while filling in for the injured Chris Paul last season, averaging 14.5 points (fourth among first-year players whole appeared in at least 50 games) and knocking down 117 three-pointers (third) en route to being selected to the All-Rookie Second Team. Nicknamed "Buckets" because of the excitement he has created in New Orleans, he is also one of the best offensive rebounders at his position, grabbing more boards per 36 minutes (1.3) than Kobe Bryant, Andre Iguodala, and Joe Johnson.