by Marcel Mutoni

According to numerous reports, the Charlotte Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets have agreed in principle to swap big men. Tyson Chandler is headed to Charlotte, and a previously unhappy Chris Paul gets a double-double machine in Emeka Okafor.

What’s shocking to most, is that cash-strapped New Orleans was willing to take on Okafor’s rather large contract (Emeka inked a 6-year, $72 million deal last summer). The Bobcats, meanwhile, will get some cap relief after the 2010-’11 season, when Chandler’s current deal runs out.

Basketball wise, the Hornets are the clear winners in this swap, adding a rock-solid low post presence to a team that won 49 games last season in the brutal West can only improve things for Chris Paul and company.

It certainly won’t bring a championship to New Orleans, but it’s a message to their superstar (and the fans) that the team isn’t sitting on its hands while everyone else loads up; they’re at the very least attempting to remain competitive.

Interestingly, Gerald Wallace is now the only Bobcat left over from the expansion season. I’m sure that makes him feel just wonderful.

UPDATE: The deal is now official.