UPDATE 3, BY MIKE: Michael Lee is reporting the trade has been agreed to in principle. It's Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton. No word on the Oberto/Crittenton for the traded player exception part of the trade.
UPDATE 2, BY MIKE: Mike Fisher with more, saying the only holdup now is who comes to Dallas for the trade exception. Looks like this is actually happening.
UPDATE: Mike Fisher at DallasBasketball.com, who's really the go-to guy for Mavericks rumors (he called this portion of the deal a few days ago), says there's actually a second portion of this trade. Dallas has a $2.9 million trade exception from their trade with the Nets, which basically means they can take back any one player who makes between $1.4 and $2.9 million without trading anyone. The two teams are still discussing which Wizards player will go back for that trade exception. The choices are Andray Blatche (no way), Nick Young (doubt it), Fabricio Oberto (please) and Javaris Crittenton (pretty please).
And now we see the rub here - this trade is about getting the Wizards out of the luxury tax this season. The line for this year is $69.92 million, and the Wizards have until July 1 to get under. Currently, the Wizards' payroll is at $78.7 million, but the Wizards will save somewhere around $4.5 million (forget the exact figure, will try to track down when I get a chance) from not having to pay the full salaries to Gilbert Arenas and Crittenton after their suspensions. Butler, Haywood and Stevenson add up to $18.6 million, and Howard, Gooden and Ross (or Singleton) add up to $16.4 million, so there's another $2.2 million saved while still adhering to the 125%/100% rules for trades. That leaves just about $2 million left to get under the luxury tax line, hence the Oberto/Crittenton for the traded exception. Oberto makes $1.99 million, so wallah, under the tax!
That's probably why you see a) Haywood going, and b) no talent coming back. This is completely a money-saving move for this season. Doesn't make it any better (in fact, it makes it worse, which I'll try to explain later), but at least makes it more understandable.
(That last update was by Mike)
The Dallas Morning News is reporting a tentative deal has been reached. According to their report, Washington would receive Howard and Gooden, as well as James Singleton and Quinton Ross. As we've mentioned before, this would be an issue because the Wizards are already at their roster limit and this deal would be bringing in more players than it sends out. This tidbit at the end of the article provides some insight to how the issue could be resolved:
The thinking is that the Wizards may use either Singleton or Ross, or perhaps both, to facilitate another trade.
Very interesting. I can't see how either Singleton or Ross would help facilitate trading Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers or Celtics, so perhaps there is another trade that we haven't heard rumors about that could be in the works as well.
Now what about Brendan Haywood being thrown into the deal? Michael Lee has the details:
The Wizards would like the deal to involve just Butler and Stevenson, but Haywood needed to be included to convince the Mavericks. One source said that there is a possibility that Haywood could still be left out of the deal, but a person close to Haywood told me that Dallas has been interested in acquiring him for some time. Haywood, the longest tenured Wizard, is having a career-year, averaging 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. But the Wizards had been growing concerned about being able to retain him in free agency this summer.
At this point, I'm going to remind everyone that Washington asked Portland for Rudy Fernandez and Nicholas Batum in exchange for Haywood less than two weeks ago.
We'll stay on top of any news on this deal as it happens, but the key components of the trade appear to be in place. More importantly, it appears that Brendan Haywood and Drew Gooden are part of the deal as it stands at this point.
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