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The Chicago Bulls got the jump on the National Basketball Association draft by trading forward Charles Oakley to the New York Knicks in exchange for veteran center Bill Cartwright.

The move announced Monday in Chicago also means the teams will switch places in today's draft, with the Bulls getting the Knicks' 11th choice in the first round and New York taking Chicago's 19th pick in that round.In addition, the Bulls, in the third round, will get the 62nd selection overall, rather than the 69th. Chicago has no second-round choice.

Oakley led the NBA with 1,066 rebounds last season, and the fact wasn't wasted on New York Coach Rick Pitino, who said he was "ecstatic" over the trade.

Oakley is "one of the top power forwards in the game of basketball and has strength and youth," Pitino said.

As for the Bulls, they had made no secret of the fact they were looking for a strong center who can help Michael Jordan with the scoring burden - and that they were unlikely to find someone for that role in the draft itself.

"We're happy to acquire the services of a proven low-post scoring center in Bill Cartwright," Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause said. "At 31, we felt he has a lot of excellent basketball ahead of him."

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In Atlanta, Reggie Theus, who officially joined the Atlanta Hawks today after a trade with the Sacramento Kings, said the transaction gives him a chance to be what he has never been - a champion.

Hawks officials waited until today to announce the trade, even though Theus confirmed it Monday. The transaction sends the Kings guard to Atlanta for Hawks guard Randy Wittman and a first-round draft choice.

"We are very excited to have Reggie with the Hawks organization," said Hawks President Stan Kasten. "He is an outstanding shooter and should fill a need for us this season."

Wittman also confirmed the trade Monday.

"As far as I know ... I've been traded for Reggie Theus and I will be playing for Sacramento next year," Wittman told WSB-TV Monday night. "We had an idea that it might happen and we're prepared."

The trade gave Sacramento the Hawks' No. 18 choice in the first round of today's NBA college draft.