OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The New Orleans Hornets traded center Jamaal Magloire to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday in exchange for forward Desmond Mason, an unconditional first-round pick in the 2006 draft and cash.

Magloire, an All-Star two seasons ago, averaged 11.7 points and 7.4 rebounds in 23 games for the Hornets last season. The 6-foot-11 center missed 51 games last season with a broken right ring finger. He had expressed a desire to be traded to Toronto, his hometown.

“We think for us and for him, it’s probably the best thing to do,” Hornets coach Byron Scott said.

Magloire hugged Scott and his Hornets teammates at the end of practice, but left the Ford Center without commenting to reporters.

“In Jamaal Magloire, we were able to add a young, All-Star-caliber big man to our front court rotation,” Bucks general manager Larry Harris said.

“He can score facing up, as well as with his back to the basket and he’s proven to be a good defender and rebounder during his young career.

Mason, a 6-foot-5 forward from Oklahoma State, averaged 17.2 points in 80 games for the Bucks last season. A first-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State in 2000, Mason will be returning to familiar territory with the Hornets, who will play 35 of their home games in Oklahoma City this season after being forced out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Harris said he approached the Hornets about a deal because of nagging knee injuries to forwards Joe Smith and Dan Gadzuric that exposed the Bucks’ thin ranks along the frontcourt.

“We’re very deep at 1, 2 and 3 and as much as I like our 4s and 5s, if we had an injury anywhere along the front line during the season, we’d be vulnerable,” Harris said. “That was accentuated when Joe Smith developed knee pain and Dan Gadzuric went down.”

Scott said Mason, the winner of the 2001 slam dunk competition, would bring energy, athleticism and defensive intensity to the Hornets.

Scott said Mason should fit well into his philosophy of pushing the ball up the court quickly.

Hornets general manager Jeff Bower said the first-round draft pick, which New Orleans would get even if it ends up in the lottery, was a crucial part of the trade.

With Chris Paul and J.R. Smith at guard, Mason probably will fit in at the small forward position for the Hornets. But Scott said Mason could play either wing position. The Hornets also have guard Bostjan Nachbar and forward Rasual Butler fighting for playing time on the wing.

“It puts a little bit more pressure on those guys to perform because you’ve got a guy like that who can come in and play both spots,” Scott said. “To me, he’s a complete player. He doesn’t have 3-point range on his jump shot, but everything else.

“He can get you baskets, he can rebound. I don’t know if we’ve got a guy that can run up and down the floor as fast as he can.”

Up front, Magloire’s departure will move 6-foot-11 P.J. Brown from power forward to center, where he filled in for Magloire during his injury last season.

At the power forward position, David West and Chris Andersen will have increased roles, and second-round pick Brandon Bass and second-year player Jackson Vroman also could contribute.

AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

AP-ES-10-26-05 1750EDT

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