Wizards get Howard in seven-player deal with Mavs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Wizards have acquired veteran swingman Josh Howard and three other players from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for forward Caron Butler, center Brendan Haywood and guard DeShawn Stevenson.

Going to Washington with Howard are center-forward Drew Gooden, forward James Singleton and guard-forward Quinton Ross, the Wizards said in a statement on Saturday.

"This trade gave us a good opportunity to change our short-term future and improve our long-term future," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said. "It accomplished two goals by giving us financial flexibility and bringing a new look and energy to the roster."

The Wizards are mired in last place in the Southeast Division at the All-Star break with a 17-33 record. Dallas (32-20) tops the Southwest but has lost five of their past seven games.

"Our four new players bring versatility and the experience of playing in a winning situation," said Grunfeld. "Josh and Quinton can each play both the shooting guard and small forward positions.

"Drew can play both the power forward and center positions and he and James give us an inside presence that combines skill and toughness."

Howard, in his seventh year in the NBA, holds career averages of 15.3 points and 6.0 rebounds, all with Dallas, and was named to the 2007 All-Star Team. He has averaged 12.5 points and 3.6 rebounds this season but has missed 21 games because of injuries.

Butler and Haywood have been key players for the Wizards.

Butler averaged 19.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in four-and-a-half seasons with Washington.

Haywood was the longest tenured player on the Wizards' roster, having spent eight-and-a-half seasons with Washington.

"Caron is an established professional and an All-Star with the ability to score from anywhere on the floor, Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks president of basketball operations, said in a statement.

"Brendan will solidify our center position with athleticism, shot blocking and defense. DeShawn has also shown that he can be a talented asset to this team."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Ian Ransom)