Mavericks reach tentative deal to trade Howard, Gooden for Wizards' Caron B

Josh Howard’s tenure with the Mavericks, which began with quality
production but eroded into inconsistency and controversy, is coming to
an end.

The Mavericks have reached a tentative agreement to send Howard, Drew
Gooden and two other players to Washington for swingman Caron Butler,
center Brendan Haywood and guard DeShawn Stevenson, numerous NBA
sources said Friday.

Though the deal still needs league approval, both sides have agreed on the moving parts in a trade that will cost the Mavericks more money but also brings them more talent, at least in the short run.

Butler is under contract through next season, at a cost of more than $10.5 million. He figures to slide into the role that Howard was playing, although he also could end up starting if Jason Terry is moved back to the sixth-man role.

Haywood, who is averaging 9.8 points and 10.3 rebounds, is in the final season of his contract, which pays him $6 million. The Mavericks will face the decision of re-signing him in the summer.

Stevenson has been a bit player for the Wizards and is under contract through 2010-11 at $4.1 million.

The Mavericks will be sending James Singleton and Quinton Ross along with Gooden and Howard, who has had a wild 6 ½ seasons with the Mavericks.

He was an All-Star in 2007, when he averaged 18.9 points in 70 games. But that was about the time his troubles began. He admitted during the playoffs that season to using marijuana in the off-season. During that summer, he was caught on someone’s cell phone video at a charity flag football game disrespecting the national anthem. This season, Howard has struggled to regain his form after ankle surgery in the summer. He has averaged 12.5 points and 3.6 rebounds, although he had begun to pick up his play in the last few games before the All-Star break.

Gooden has been a valuable asset in relief of Erick Dampier, but his $4.5 million salary was needed to make the trade work under NBA guidelines.

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