DALLAS -- After weeks of discussions, taking the Wizards through various trade proposals that would put them on the path to rebuilding, Washington has revived a deal that would send Caron Butler to the Mavericks as part of a package that includes Josh Howard going to the Wizards, CBSSpports.com has learned.
The deal "looks like it will go through," according to a person with direct knowledge of the discussions. The Butler-for-Howard scenario was revived in the past 48 hours after Dallas owner Mark Cuban initially balked at the idea, the source said. The discussions, described as "lively and serious" by one person involved, expanded to include Brendan Haywood going to Dallas along with DeShawn Stevenson, with Drew Gooden heading to the Wizards, sources said.
The Wizards were deeply involved in discussions with Boston that would've sent Butler and Haywood to the Celtics for Ray Allen, but that deal apparently died for a combination of reasons. The Wizards were reluctant to include Antawn Jamison in the swap, and the Celtics were concerned about taking on large contracts as they try to position themselves to remain a threat down the stretch and also to improve in future seasons.
Barring a snag, Butler would add to the Mavs' offensive potency -- assuming he will return to his previous All-Star level with a change of scenery. But the deal also will add $14.8 million to the Mavs' 2010-11 payroll -- the price Cuban was willing to pay to make a championship run this season.
Howard was virtually a lock to be traded before the Feb. 18 deadline because he's unhappy with his role and has a team option for next season at $11.8 million. The deal has the potential to save the Wizards nearly $15 million in 2010-11 cap space if they decide not to pick up Howard's option.