CHRIS PAUL IS headed to Los Angeles for real this time - to the Clippers, not the Lakers.

The Hornets have traded Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Eric Gordon, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, center Chris Kaman and a first-round draft choice. The deal required the approval of NBA commissioner David Stern because the Hornets are owned by the league.

The move puts an end to a tortured week in which the Hornets' season sat in limbo while the NBA took a public relations beating over everything from potential conflicts of interest, to retarding the Hornets' pursuit of free agents, to disrespecting the New Orleans fan base.

Paul was almost traded to the Lakers last week, only to have Stern nix the deal under pressure from some owners.

The 26-year-old Paul, a four-time All-Star point guard, averaged 18.7 points and 9.8 assists last season, his sixth in the NBA.

The Hornets get a prolific young shooting guard in Gordon, who turns 23 on Christmas Day and averaged 22.3 points last season. The 6-9 Aminu is a second-year pro who averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds as a rookie.

The 7-foot Kaman, 29, is an 8-year veteran who averaged 12.4 points and seven rebounds last season, but played in only 32 games because of an ankle injury.

ESPN, citing anonymous sources, first reported the trade, which also involves New Orleans sending two future second-round draft picks to the Clippers.

Noteworthy

* Orlando general manager Otis Smith said the team's goal remains to keep Dwight Howard in a Magic uniform as long as it possibly can and that the trade talks "could go to the end of the season."

* As expected, Memphis signed center Marc Gasol to a new contract, reportedly for 4 years and almost $58 million.

* Minnesota signed free-agent point guard J.J. Barea, formerly of Dallas, to a 4-year deal.

*  Chicago signed guard Richard Hamilton to a 3-year, $15 million deal, a source said.

*  Golden State signed free-agent center Kwame Brown to a $7 million, 1-year deal.

* Cleveland waived veteran point guard Baron Davis, using the NBA's new "amnesty clause" to clear space under the salary cap.

* The Lakers signed free-agent forward Josh McRoberts to a 2-year contract.