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Wizards send Butler to Dallas


The Dallas Mavericks have acquired Caron Butler in a seven-player trade with the Washington Wizards, has learned.

The Mavs will send Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and JamesSingleton to Washington, saving the Wizards (17-33) up to $13.7 million next season should they choose not to exercise their option to pick up Howard's $10.9 million option next season.

In return, Dallas picks up a trio of players -- inluding Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson -- who could help challenge the Nuggets for the No. 2 seed in the West. Butler is a 6-7 former All-Star who will provide reliable scoring and increased toughness at small forward. Haywood, a 7-foot center, will help Dallas match up with the frontcourt length of the West-leading Lakers. Meanwhile, Stevenson, a 6-5 guard who was averaging 15.2 minutes a game -- his lowest since 2002-03 -- for the Wizards, can provide defense down the stretch.

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Howard was in his seventh season with the Mavericks since being the 29th overall pick in 2003. Gooden, signed by Dallas last summer, will be going to his eighth team in eight NBA seasons. The Mavericks (32-20) lead the Southwest Division, despite losing five of their last seven games before the All-Star weekend in their city.