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Caron Butler officially a Maverick

Feb 13, 2010, 9:06 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for nba_butler_250.jpgHow big is the trade that became official today, sending Caron Butler and Brandan Haywood to Dallas? Ask the guy the trade was made to beat, Kobe Bryant.

Kobe, does the trade put the Mavericks on par with the Lakers?

“No question,” Kobe said Saturday when asked by our girl Gina Miller whether the trade moves the Mavs to the Lakers’ level. “I hate to say it, but it’s true. … Trust me, I don’t like it by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s a great move by (Dallas). It pains me to say it. But you guys made two great pickups.”

The trade was reported yesterday and got the official thumbs up from the NBA today: Butler and Haywood plus DeShawn Stevenson to Dallas, while Josh Howard, Drew Gooden Quinton Ross and James Singleton head to Washington.

This is a big upgrade all around for Dallas. First, Butler is just a little bit better at everything than Howard at this point in their careers — better shooter, better from three, better rebounder, better defender.

The bigger upgrade, frankly, is Haywood. Right now the Mavericks put the incredibly pedestrian game of Eric Dampier out at center every night to start. Then they run into good front lines like the Lakers or Nuggets and he gets dominated. Haywood is not the second coming, but he is playing slightly above average ball. He can do a better job defending the Lakers bigs in the playoffs, and now they bring another big body off the bench (even if it is to soak up fouls).

The move will cost Mavs owner Mark Cuban — about $30 million extra over the next few years. Washington made the move because it saves them money.

It’s too early to say Kobe should be scared. But he should be worried.

  1. blazctb - Feb 13, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Gotta love Cuban for pulling this deal off!

  2. NBAFan1 - Feb 13, 2010 at 11:54 PM

    Kobe seems to be telling Dallas fans what they want to hear… This will take time to come together for Dallas and I still think the Nuggets represent a bigger challenge for my Lakers.
    Even with Butler, Dallas is still too soft…

  3. sT - Feb 14, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    It is ironic that Butler was a Laker a while back, and now this trade seems aimed at the Lakers. The West is getting tougher and tougher, but the Lakers should still find themselves in the Finals again. It will be a rough battle through the Western Conference this year for sure. Kobe be worried about anything, no way, especially his Lakers team, but I am.

  4. kobe fan - Feb 14, 2010 at 2:33 AM

    Kobe isn’t worried about anything but rape charges.

  5. Lakers suck - Feb 14, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    He isn’t worried about rape charges… why would he rape then?

  6. lakerlegend - Feb 14, 2010 at 2:49 AM

    are you seriously still talking about the rape ALLEGATIONS? its been like 7 years… umm if thats the best you’ve got, shut up- its ridiculous that people still talk about this. WERE TALKING ABOUT BASKETBALL ON THE COURT not off it. seriously! why bring this crap in here? youre ridiculous dude

  7. Terry (Costa Mesa) - Feb 14, 2010 at 2:59 AM

    The best finals matchup for me is Lakers vs. Cavs. If this doesn’t happen, this trade just guarantees that the conference championship games will be better than the finals. Seems to work out that way lately.

  8. iLAKERS - Feb 14, 2010 at 3:43 AM

    i agree

  9. kwpfunk1955 - Feb 14, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    LAKERS! Are still the team to beat. Nuggets & Mavericks will be a challenge. Our weak spot is our point guard. Fisher is a leader but not on the floor. We need to either replace him with Farmar or Brown. Either would give an instant infusion to the line up. We’re gonna need all of our vices to defend our title. Before the trade dead line, Harris or Hinrich would breath a fresh pulse into our line up. We can not go into the “PLAY – OFFS” with this weak link “FISHER,” most point guards are superior against him. No disrespect against Fisher but his better days have long passed him. His play last season should be enough to show why we can not go up against point guards that are all around much better than him. We need an equalizer on the floor to keep pace with our match ups. Coach Jackson needs to take the pressure off our other 4 – guys because we are at a disadvantage with Fisher on the court. I hope this doesn’t back fire on us in the “PLAY – OFFS.” We can get away with this against inferior teams but we can’t keep pressing our luck, someday it could back fire against us going up against descent teams. Come on Phil we don’t need to push our luck.

  10. Hoops McCann - Feb 14, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Why can’t Farmar start and bring S. Brown and Fisher off the bench? Sometimes it’s not always getting a better player but young guys learning how to play better and within the system. Remember that this current Laker team has not even played for an entire year together. And on offense has anyone else noticed that when Odom brings the ball up the court up-tempo and starts the offense the Lakers score 80% of the time. It’s incredible, the guy is unstoppable! He should be made to watch Magic Johnson videos and then told to run the offense. Why doesn’t anyone else see this?

  11. Truth About It.net - Feb 14, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Kurt, you really think that Butler is a better defender than Josh Howard?
    As a Wizards blogger, I respectfully disagree.
    In other news: This trade sucks for the Wizards.

  12. simpatico02 - Feb 14, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    I love an owner like Mark Cuban, don’t mind spending his money to have a chance to win a title. Lakes we need to get a better guard we have the assets to get that thru a trade, lets do it.

  13. Anonymous - Feb 14, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    I think the Lakers are still the best team in the west. The Mavericks is not a championship caliber team, even with the trade.

  14. Paul - Feb 14, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    That is in the past and it it completely irrelevant.

  15. Terry - Feb 15, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    I am a fervent NON-Lakers fan of long standing but I have to admire Kobe for what he said. The fact that IMO he is blowing smoke out of a certain cavity located south of his back is irrelevant.
    What it will come down to as it ALWAYS does is a single moment when Kobe is raising his game to another level and asking the question he always asks – Is there anyone on the Dallas squad even after this trade who can make him blink when it is nut-crunching time? With everything on the line night after night there is noone in the league who can take over the way he can, and I am a FERVENT NON-FAN OF THE MAN.
    But he is the best.

  16. LALAKER4LIFE - Feb 15, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    LOOK, A REAL MAN STEPS UP TO THE CHALLENGE….ASK KOBE IF HE CARES ABOUT THE TRADE……DALLAS JUST MADE IT EASIER FOR HIM TO FIND EVEN A SOFTER SPOT….HES PLAYED WITH AND AGAINST THESE GUYS, BELIEVE ME, HE KNOWS HOW TO GET AROUND THAT….THANKS CUBAN, ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RING FOR US….OH AND IF DALLAS MAKES IT TO THE PAYOFFS TO MEET WITH US….CAN YOU SAY…..SWEEP!

  17. Matt - Feb 18, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Can u sayy upset

  18. mister u - Feb 21, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    well said.

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