Mavs win trade with Wizards
This was a classic Mark Cuban trade. The Mavs took advantage of a team looking to cut costs. And Cuban didn't even have to pay a ridiculous price in the process.
DeShawn Stevenson's $4.1 million player option for next season is the price the Mavs had to pay to make significant upgrades at two positions. The financial sting was lessened when the Wizards accepted Quinton Ross ($1.14 million) as part of the return. (James Singleton is the other throw-in headed to Washington.)
Caron Butler is simply a better all-around player than Josh Howard. Butler is a better scorer. He's a better rebounder. He's a better fit for the Mavs because of his ability to create off the dribble.
Brendan Haywood fills a major void as a shot-blocking, board-crashing big man, especially with Erick Dampier dealing with knee problems. Drew Gooden provided some scoring punch, but he was a power forward pretending to be a center, something that was painfully obvious from watching the Mavs' defensive misery the last month.
Butler, whose career numbers suggest he could be an excellent second scoring option despite his struggles this season, is on the books one more season at $10.8 million. Swapping him for Howard doesn't limit the Mavs' potential to be sign-and-trade players this summer.
Haywood is a $6 million expiring contract, but he could be the most important long-term piece in this trade. The Mavs definitely wouldn't have pulled the trigger without him included. The summer search for a long-term starting center at least has a Plan A now that the Mavs own Haywood's Bird rights.
Does this deal make the Mavs legitimate challengers to the Los Angeles Lakers? Doubtful, despite Kobe Bryant's gushing about the trade Saturday morning.
Does it make the Mavs significantly better? Absolutely.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.