The Mavs and Wizards dropped the first domino of the NBA trade deadline and the move could put Dallas in the West Finals.
The Dallas Mavericks made a huge deal that makes their team a legitimate title contender. The Mavs acquired Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, James Singleton, and Quinton Ross.
For the Wizards, this marks a new era for the team. With the problems surrounding guard Gilbert Arenas, the team has decided to pull the plug on the three-headed monster they created. The move will save them a lot of money in the near future and they could be players in the amazing offseason free agent class. The team will continue to explore ways to cut cost as the trade deadline approaches.
For the Mavs, this is a great move. Owner Mark Cuban takes advantage of a cost cutting franchise and adds great talent to his team. The coup of this trade is swingman Caron Butler, who is under contract for next season as well. The 2-time All Star plays hard at both ends of the floor. His numbers are down a notch this season but it has been an awkward first half of the season in Washington. His former teammate and good friend Kobe Bryant had this to say while in Dallas for All Star Weekend...
"You're going to love him. I hate to say that, but you guys are going to absolutely love him. You put him on a contender and I'm telling you, you're going to love him. And he's tough as nails, too."
While Butler is clearly the best player involved in the deal, he really isn't overly superior to Howard. The other players involved in the deal make this move a steal for the Mavs. Center Brendan Haywood will add much needed length to the front-court. Haywood on a contending team will surprise people. Gooden works hard underneath but he is not big enough to contend against the Lakers big men. DeShawn Stevenson will benefit from a change of scenery. The guard can play great defense at times although it is unclear how much playing time he will get.