Hornets trade Brown for Gray

The New Orleans Hornets have traded guard Devin Brown to the Chicago Bulls for reserve big man Aaron Gray.

"We're excited to add Devin Brown to our team," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement released by the team. "His toughness, defensive versatility, and shooting will be excellent additions to our perimeter rotation."

The Hornets nearly traded Brown to Minnesota in hopes of reducing their luxury-tax bill in December, but the deal could not satisfy salary-cap requirements unless Brown agreed to waive a portion of the trade kicker in his contract. Brown declined.

This deal nets only a small luxury-tax benefit for the Hornets but brings them an extra big man for their bench. Brown has started 37 games for New Orleans this season, but the Hornets want to give more minutes to rookie Marcus Thornton and decided they needed the extra size.

In spite of its recent improvement, Chicago has been looking for perimeter help to help fill the void created by Ben Gordon's free-agent departure to Detroit.

Brown is averaging 9.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this season. He's averaged 7.9 points per game in eight seasons with five NBA teams.

"Devin is a tough kid who can spread the defense with his shooting ability," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Aaron was a great guy who worked hard. He just really didn't get much of an opportunity, especially after he got injured early in the year. I think it made sense for both teams."

Gray was drafted by the Bulls in 2007 and has averaged 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in his career.

The Hornets will have to make at least one more trade before the Feb. 18 trading deadline to get under the league's $69.9 million luxury-tax threshold.

Swapping Brown for Gray reduces New Orleans' tax bill by an additional $107,075 after the tax-motivated salary-shedding trades of Rasual Butler and Hilton Armstrong.

To get under the tax line -- which will make the Hornets eligible to receive the rebate of nearly $5 million per team next summer that is paid out to all non-tax teams -- they must shed an addtional $423,536 before the deadline.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.