DALLAS Mark Cuban held a news conference at the Saturday night All-Star festivities to announce that the Mavericks have traded Josh Howard to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Caron Butler.

Though the deal still needs league approval, the NBA could approve it as soon as tonight. 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.

The Mavericks will acquire forward Caron Butler, center Brendan Haywood, and guard DeShawn Stevenson in exchange for forward Josh Howard, center Drew Gooden, forward James Singleton, and guard Quinton Ross.

I guess you know the details now, we have traded Josh, said Mark Cuban on Saturday night. I think this makes us significantly better....Caron Butler was an All-Star and we think he can get back to that level.

Butler is under contract through next season, at a cost of more than $10.5 million. He is averaging 16.9 points and also 6.7 rebounds this season.

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 have to decide if they want to re-sing the big man after the season.

Damp is having problems with his knees and we were in a tough spot without a shot blocker behind him....Haywood is having a terrific season, said Cuban. We didn t come into the season thinking that Damp was going to miss so many games. People give Damp a hard time and they have since he has come here, but the effect of him not being there is very obvious.

A native of Racine, Wis., Butler attended the University of Connecticut. In his sophomore campaign, Butler averaged 20.3 points and 7.5 rebounds on his way to Co-Big East Player of Year and All-America Second Team honors. He was an early-entry candidate into the 2002 NBA Draft where he was selected 10th overall by the Heat.

Haywood (7-0, 263) arrives from Washington as the longest-tenured Wizard. Haywood, drafted by Washington out of the University of North Carolina in 2001, has played for the Wizards in 579 games ranking third all-time in franchise history in field goal percentage (.561), fourth all-time in blocked shots and sixth all-time in rebounds and games played. The Greensboro, N.C., native holds career averages of 7.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

Stevenson (6-5, 218) is a ninth-year guard out of Washington Union High School in Fresno, Calif., where he averaged 30.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists as a senior. Stevenson was originally the 23rd overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Stevenson comes to Dallas having played in 621 games (422 starts) with career averages of 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 23.9 minutes with Utah, Orlando and Washington.

Dallas parts ways with Howard after drafting him in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft. Howard is the second-longest tenured Mavericks behind Dirk Nowitzki and played 431 games in Dallas. Gooden and Ross were both in their first season with Dallas, while Singleton was re-signed last summer after he came to Dallas in 2008.

We would like to thank these four players for their valuable contributions, Donnie Nelson, President of Mavericks Basketball operations said. It is especially difficult to part with Josh. He began his career as a Maverick and we have watched him grow. We appreciate what Josh has helped this franchise accomplish.

Portions of this report were reproduced from the Mavericks' news release

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