Clippers, Wizards Nearly Swapped Butler, Ariza

February 25 2013 at 11:56am CDT By Luke Adams

We're four days removed from this year's trade deadline, but reports of near-deals continue to trickle in. According to TNT's David Aldridge in his weekly Morning Tip piece for NBA.com, one deal that was seriously discussed prior to the deadline would have sent Caron Butler to the Wizards and Trevor Ariza to the Clippers.

Aldridge reports that the two teams had "a done deal" on Wednesday night and would have swapped small forwards had it not been for Clippers owner Donald Sterling. According to Aldridge, Sterling was hesitant about any move that might affect the team's chemistry down the stretch, and nixed the trade.

From a cap perspective, the proposed deal wouldn't have made a huge impact for either team. Butler is earning $8MM this season and another $8MM next season, while Ariza is making $7.26MM this season, with a $7.73MM player option for 2013/14. On the court, Ariza would have provided the Clippers a defensive-minded wing to guard players like Kevin Durant in the playoffs, while Butler, who still has a home in the D.C. area, would have returned to the Wizards as a "much-needed offensive option," writes Aldridge.

While the deal makes some sense from both sides, Aldridge suggests that Sterling and the Clippers were reluctant to make a deal that could have been held against the club by free-agent-to-be Chris Paul in any way if the team doesn't advance deep into the postseason.

In addition to working on a potential Butler/Ariza swap, the Clippers looked into making a trade for Kevin Garnett, but the veteran Celtics big man was reportedly unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to Los Angeles.

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