The first big trade before the February 18th (Thursday) trade deadline has been made. The Dallas Mavericks have agreed to send Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross, and James Singleton to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and Deshawn Stevenson.
I like what Dallas gets in this deal. I think Caron Butler fits in better with the Mavs because of the type of player he is. He doesn't cause as many distractions as Josh Howard and he's a better teammate on the floor; he is also a good defender, something the Mavs always have a need for. Butler is has also been better statistically, averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds compared to Howard's 12 points and 3 rebounds. To be fair, though, Howard missed the first month of the season due to a knee injury. Deshawn Stevenson is also a good defender and can hit the three and he's got an Abraham Lincoln neck tattoo, which scores points in everyone's book.
But, what I like the most about this deal for Dallas is the acquisition of Brendan Haywood. Regardless of how good the team has been, they've never had a really good center to hold down the paint. Shawn Bradley was tall, but not much else. Raef Lafrentz played well, but he wasn't a good defender. Desagana Diop didn't score much, but he was their best post defender in recent years. And though Erik Dampier averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Golden State Warriors when the Mavs got him in 2004, he hasn't averaged anywhere near that since. I think Haywood gives them a much better interior presence than any of those guys. He's five years younger than Dampier and is a more active defender. This season, he has averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds compared to Dampier's 7 points and 8 rebounds. Also, Dampier hasn't played in three of the last five games thanks to a knee injury as the Mavs have struggled in the last week. Drew Gooden had been shouldering much of the load at center during that span and had played well.
Mavs, Wizards complete deal with Howard, Butler