Caron Butler to Texas?’s David Aldridge does not like to write trade columns, but fans love them, so he relented. Here are a few of the more interesting tidbits:

…by this time next week, it’s almost a certainty that Caron Butler will be gone from Washington, and highly likely that Tyrus Thomas will no longer be a Bull. By the 18th, Indiana’s Troy Murphy and Philly’s Andre Iguodala are certain to have new addresses as well, though those teams may well go right up until the 3 p.m. deadline to max out their suitors’ offers.

Not a bad start. Aldridge predicts at least two stars (Butler, Iguodala) and two starter-quality players (Murphy, Thomas) will be on the move. Here’s what he says about Butler:

The Wizards’ desire to move Butler has only increased in recent days, since they found out they will indeed get some cap relief from the NBA this season after losing Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton to suspension for the rest of the season. Washington’s cap number will be reduced almost $4 million, according to sources — pro-rated amounts of the remainder of Arenas’s $16.1 million and Crittenton’s $1.47 million salaries — taking its cap number to a little more than $74 million. The cap threshhold is $69.9 million, meaning Washington could avoid paying tax if it can pare another $4 to $5 million in salaries off its books.

That means Butler, though I suspect the Wizards will ask inquiring teams to remove Mike James and/or DeShawn Stevenson from their payroll as well.

Butler winding up somewhere in Texas is most likely, with Washington probably deciding between Dallas’ and Houston’s competing offers before next week’s All-Star Game. The Wizards are determined to get a young player back, though, and the Mavericks’ only non-geezer is rookie guard Rod Beaubois — while Houston has a young guard like Kyle Lowry and an expiring big man contract in forward Luis Scola to pair with McGrady’s $22 million expiring deal.

With the way Antawn Jamison has been playing (22-10-2 in February), some consider him to be the Wizards’ most valuable trade asset. But at 33 years old and with a tough contract to swallow (two more years at the tune of $28.4 million), I believe Caron Butler is the better acquisition. Butler is four years younger and has just one year remaining ($10.6 million). Butler has had his ups and downs this season, but he’s a swingman in his prime and he proved he still has it in a brilliant 31-point, nine-rebound effort against the Magic the other night.

From a pure personnel standpoint, the acquisition of Butler makes more sense for the Mavericks, who would like to upgrade from Josh Howard. A small-ball lineup of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki would be pretty scary.

The Rockets already have Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier at small forward, so Houston’s interest seems to be more of the “buy low” variety, and that’s not a bad way to go about things. Daryl Morey has T-Mac’s $22 million expiring deal and several young assets — Lowry, Carl Landry and Chase Budinger — to dangle.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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