Saturday, February 13, 2010
Butler to Mavs, Wiz get Howard
By Marc Stein
The Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks have completed a seven-player trade that launches Washington's long-anticipated rebuilding project in earnest and sends Wizards mainstays Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood to the Mavericks.
The teams agreed on the principal pieces Friday: Butler, Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to Dallas for Josh Howard and Drew Gooden. Mavericks reserves Quinton Ross and James Singleton were added to the deal Saturday and are also Washington-bound, with Dallas due to receive cash considerations in addition to the three players.
Washington and Dallas have completed a trade call with the league office to secure the NBA's required approval and will formally announce the trade later Saturday, sources said.
The Wizards have been talking to several teams for weeks about deals involving Butler and Haywood, most notably Houston with Tracy McGrady's $22.5 million expiring contract. But talks with Dallas had stalled in the past week, partly because of Washington's insistence that the Mavericks take guard Stevenson in any Butler deal.
When Washington agreed late in the week that it would add Haywood to the deal, talks picked up Thursday night and only grew more serious Friday, resulting in the trade that is widely regarded as the first major domino needed to loosen things up on the trade market in advance of Thursday's annual trading deadline.
The acquisitions of Butler and Haywood, meanwhile, would be a welcome spark for the sputtering Mavericks, with Butler moving into the spot vacated by Howard and Haywood arriving as another rim-protecting defensive anchor in the wake of a knee injury that has compromised the effectiveness of Mavs center Erick Dampier.
Acquiring Haywood and having the chance to re-sign him this summer would likely fill the void Dallas thought it filled last summer, when the Mavs signed Orlando center Marcin Gortat to a lucrative offer sheet, only for the Magic to unexpectedly match the offer to the restricted free agent.
Washington inevitably wanted Beaubois added to the deal, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban said earlier this week that his young point guard is "pretty much untouchable" as Thursday's trade deadline approaches. But sources say the Wizards are gaining so much payroll and luxury-tax relief -- while also keeping Jamison to either keep or move in a separate deal before Thursday's deadline -- that they couldn't pass on Dallas' offer.
The potential for acquiring two front-line players -- since Butler and Haywood would immediately become key rotation players for Dallas -- renewed the Mavs' interest and convinced them to relent on Stevenson.
Speaking to a group of reporters Thursday, Cuban said: "We kind of know the parameters [under] which we would make a deal. If somebody meets our parameters, we'll pull the trigger. But if not, we're not going to do it. I don't see us doing something just to do something because that'll kill our flexibility this summer. But in the event that there's somebody that really upgrades our talent and really makes our team better, then maybe we'll do it."