NBA Trade News: Does First Blockbuster of Trade Season Make Dallas Mavs Better?

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IFebruary 15, 2010

DALLAS - JANUARY 26:  Guard Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks on January 26, 2010 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If you follow the NBA and haven't heard by now, well, you just haven't been paying attention.

True, the All-Star game and festivities have somewhat stolen the show in Dallas over the past three days, but Dallas has been in the news for other reasons, as well.

The Mavericks were involved in a huge deal over the weekend, marking the first big splash since the Charlotte Bobcats swung a deal for Stephen Jackson at the beginning of the season.

Dallas said good-bye to the extremely talented, yet disappointing Josh Howard, while sending veteran journey-man Drew Gooden (as well as two other players) for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson.

So, while there's no denying there will be an immediate change of scenery in the make-up of the Mavericks' roster, the real question is, will it be for the better?

Considering Dallas was a fringe title contender to start the season and has been struggling in the past month (2-5 in it's last seven games), it's very arguably that, while this trade isn't guaranteeing anything, it was one that was necessary.

The move gets rid of Howard, who was talented and versatile, but was always in the media for things not related to basketball, and had been in favor of a trade for the past two seasons.

Letting go of Gooden wasn't a tough decision, despite his solid abilities, especially when the Mavericks were able to land Haywood, a solid center, and a guy who can have a bigger impact with more minutes.

Gooden was originally acquired in the off-season to be able to come in off the bench and make an impact, or fill-in for an injured or sluggish Erik Dampier at center.

However, with Dampier missing action leading into the All-Star weekend, it had become apparent that Gooden wasn't necessarily the answer, and that Haywood would very likely be an upgrade.

The idea now is that, providing Dampier can stay healthy, the two big men can be used together, and that they could even rotate as starters if needed, giving Dallas some of the best inside depth they've had in years.

The addition of Caron Butler allows Jason Terry to go back to the bench, and adds a whole new dimension to the Mav's offense, while giving them a hard-working player that even Kobe Bryant has backed-up.

"You put him on a contender, and I'm telling you, you're going to love him. He's tough as nails," Kobe said, endorsing his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate.

The simple truth is, Josh Howard was becoming a distraction, Drew Gooden was more serviceable than dominant, and something need to be done to have the Mavericks coming away with the feeling that they can truly compete in the Western Conference playoffs.

Butler, like Howard, clearly needed a change in scenery, and is dripping with talent that has been wasting away in a losing franchise, and the same can be said of Haywood, who is a double-double candidate nearly every night, and brings his worth on the defensive end as a shot-blocker and tough interior defender.

There's no telling if what the Mavericks have woven together will be the missing pieces to the puzzle that helps them get past the Lakers and back to the Finals.

And even if that happens, there's no safe bets that this is the team that can win it all.

But does this trade make Dallas a better team and given them a better chance to pull off the impossible? Absolutely.

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