Trevor Booker

Cavaliers Talking To Luke Babbitt, Trevor Booker

The Cavaliers have reached out to free agents Luke Babbitt and Trevor Booker as they try to fill three open roster spots, according to Joe Vardon of

Cleveland saw its salary commitments for 2018/19 take a huge dive when LeBron James signed with the Lakers, but the Cavs still have a payroll of about $109.5MM. That’s over the $101.9MM salary cap, but about $20MM below the tax apron with the full mid-level exception ($8.6MM) and bi-annual exception ($3.3MM) still available.

Babbitt, 29, split last season between the Hawks and Heat. A career 40% shooter from 3-point range, Babbitt’s production fell after a February trade to Miami and he was barely used in the playoffs. Several European teams have expressed interest in signing him if he doesn’t land another NBA contract.

Booker, 30, spent parts of last season with the Nets, Sixers and Pacers. A rugged power forward, Booker had his best season in 2016/17, when he averaged 10.8 PPG and 8.0 RPG for Brooklyn.

No deal is considered imminent with either player, Vardon adds.

One of the Cavaliers’ open roster spots may be reserved for Rodney Hood, who had trouble adjusting to his new role after coming to Cleveland at the trade deadline but is still a valued prospect. He remains part of the plan for the future, a team source told Vardon. Hood is a restricted free agent, and the Cavs can match any offer he receives.

The source adds that Cleveland is “exploring all options” with its resources, including a $5.8MM trade exception from last summer’s Kyrie Irving deal that will expire August 22.

In addition, Vardon relays that there’s nothing new on a rumored trade that would send Kyle Korver to Philadelphia in exchange for Jerryd Bayless. The Cavs may see if they can get more for the 37-year-old marksman before dealing with the Sixers.

Free Agent Rumors: Crawford, Ellington, Bjelica, Williams

The Sixers are interested in veteran free agent guard Jamal Crawford, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Crawford could fortify a bench that has lost Ersan Ilyasovaand Marco Belinelli since the start of free agency. Crawford, 38, averaged 10.3 PPG in 20.7 MPG for the Timberwolves last season. The Pelicans, Cavaliers, Warriors and Nuggets are also reportedly in the mix for Crawford, who opted out of his contract with Minnesota and left $4.54MM on the table.

In other news regarding the free agent market:

  • Unrestricted free agent shooting guard Wayne Ellington has drawn significant interest but he’s viewed as a good bet to re-sign with the Heat, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports tweets. Miami has a cap hold of $8.15MM on Ellington, who appeared in 77 games and averaged 11.2 PPG in 26.5 MPG while shooting 39.2% from long range.
  • The Jazz have a strong interest in Nemanja Bjelica, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. The Timberwolves pulled their qualifying offer to the power forward in order to sign Anthony Tolliver, thus making Bjelica an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Knicks are interested in Alan Williams if he clears waivers, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Suns waived the power forward/center on Monday. The Knicks have also reached out to free agent power forwards Amir Johnson and Trevor Booker, Berman adds.
  • Williams hasn’t ruled out a return to the Suns but his agent has already heard from a handful of teams interested in his services, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Williams, who appeared in only five games last season due to a knee injury, had a non-guaranteed salary of $5.5MM for next season and will likely get through waivers.
  • The Lakers have renounced their free-agent exception rights to guard Andre Ingram and power forward Travis Wear, according to the RealGM transactions log. The Lakers had a cap hold of $1.338MM on Ingram and $1.5MM on Wear. Ingram appeared in two games with Los Angeles last season, while Wear saw action in 17 games.
  • The Suns renounced their free-agent exception rights to center Alex Len, according to the RealGM transaction log. The Suns had a $7.96MM cap hold on Len. He appeared in 69 games last season but became expendable when they drafted Deandre Ayton.

Timberwolves Eyeing Nick Young, Other Free Agents

4:06pm: Wolfson adds Jeff Green, Malcolm Delaney, and Treveon Graham to the list of free agents that the Timberwolves have inquired on so far (Twitter link).

12:15pm: The Timberwolves have interest in Nick Young among several other free agents, according to ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (Twitter link).

Young is coming off a down year in Golden State where he sported just a 10.0 player efficiency rating and scored just 7.3 points per game. It’s hard to envision the shooting guard surpassing the $5.19MM salary he received with the Warriors last season after floundering alongside the best supporting cast he’s ever played with.

Minnesota has the non-tax mid-level ($8.6MM) and the bi-annual ($3.4MM) at its disposal. However, with approximately $115MM already on the books, the team must be careful when handing out deals if it intends to stay below the luxury tax line. If a team uses its bi-annual exception or more than the taxpayer portion of its MLE, it becomes hard-capped for the season.

Dante Cunningham and James Ennis are among other free agents the Wolves are keeping an eye on, Wolfson adds. Lance Stephenson remains a possibility for one of the team’s five open roster spots. Minnesota is among the teams expected to have interest in the mercurial shooting guard once the first wave of free agents sign.

Other candidates for the team’s openings include Trevor Booker, Amir Johnson, Jabari Bird and Anthony Tolliver. Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau reportedly has spoken with Tolliver and team values the power forward’s lockerroom presence.

Free Agency Notes: George, MCW, Booker, Parker

The Thunder and  Paul George agreed to a four-year deal worth $137MM at the start of free agency and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of (Twitter link), the team will have the option to offer George an even bigger raise in two years.

Under the new CBA, the team can offer George an extension after the second anniversary of the deal, meaning PG13 can sign a four-year max deal in 2020 that locks him in for seven seasons. The total value of the potential seven-year pact would come in at an estimated $290MM based off of future salary cap projections.

The team’s ability to re-sign George was shocking to some, as many expected the 5-time All-Star to leave OKC for Los Angeles, a city he’s been linked to for quite some time. It’s possible that the team’s ability to offer the max extension at the halfway point of the four-year contract was part of George’s motivation to stick around, though that’s merely my speculation.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Rockets will meet with Michael Carter-Williams, league sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). While Houston appears to be looking into ancillary parts for its team, the franchise hasn’t given up hope on pursuing LeBron James.
  • The Jazz and Pelicans have both expressed interest in Trevor Booker, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reports (Twitter link). The Wolves, Rockets, Knicks, and Spurs also have an eye on the big man.
  • The Bulls have interest in Jabari Parker, Kennedy tweets. Chicago is one of several teams expected to pursue the former No. 2 overall pick.
  • The Wolves are looking to sign Dante Cunningham, sources tell Chris Haynes of (Twitter link). Minnesota has eyes for a bevy of veteran free agents to fill it’s five open roster spots.

Free Agent Rumors: LeBron, Capela, Pelicans, Hood

While several key free agents – including Paul George and Chris Paul – reached agreements in the early hours of free agency, LeBron James wasn’t among that group. Still, there’s a little news on James.

According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (via Twitter), Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman spoke to both James and agent Rich Paul on the phone when free agency began. Joe Vardon of first reported (via Twitter) that the discussion was expected to happen.

The specifics of that conversation aren’t known, but the Cavaliers are still believed to be in the mix to sign the summer’s top free agent, though the Lakers are widely considered favorites.

Here are a few more free agent updates from around the NBA:

  • The Rockets‘ front office will meet with Clint Capela and his representatives on Sunday in Los Angeles, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Capela figures to be Houston’s top priority in free agency now that the team has reached a deal with Chris Paul.
  • Pelicans GM Dell Demps has asked some of his current players to reach out to free agent Tyreke Evans about the possibility of returning to New Orleans, tweets John Martin of 92.9 ESPN. Evans would be a mid-level exception candidate for the Pels.
  • Rodney Hood received calls from approximately six teams early in free agency, sources tell Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Hood is a restricted free agent, so the Cavaliers can match any offer sheet he signs.
  • The Timberwolves, Rockets, Knicks, and Spurs have all shown interest in Trevor Booker, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, who tweets that a return to the Pacers is also still in play for the veteran forward.
  • Tyrone Wallace, who spent last season on a two-way contract with the Clippers, has generated interest from about a half-dozen teams, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Wallace received a qualifying offer from the Clips, who will be able to match any offer sheet he signs.

Central Notes: Booker, Green, Kilpatrick, Hoiberg, LeBron

Despite playing a limited role – only 16.0 minutes per game – the Pacers believe that recently-acquired forward Trevor Booker is an important piece of Indiana’s chances come playoff time, reports Mark Montieth of, especially with big man Domantas Sabonis missing six of the team’s last seven games with an ankle injury.

Booker was brought in to back-up Thaddeus Young at power forward, but has filled in admirably for the Pacers while Sabonis has been out.

“He brings a physicality to the floor,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. “With these injuries and teams playing smaller fives, we’ve had to play him there some, and he’s done a good job for us. It allows us to make adjustments. He’s a power forward, but he plays bigger than that.”

“He’s a hard-nosed guy who’s going to go out and rebound the basketball,” says Young, the Pacers’ starting power forward who Booker backs up. “He has the ability to score on the block. To make a few jumpers here and there — not consistently, but he gives us the energy and the poise and the passion that we need. When he’s stepping out there with that second unit he does a really good job of carving out space and putting guys in the right place.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Jeff Green has been starting for the Cavaliers lately while the team has been dealing with injuries to Kevin LoveLarry Nance Jr., and Tristan Thompson, but Joe Vardon of The Plain Dealer wonders whether he has a place in the lineup once playoff time comes and the bench shortens.
  • Despite recently receiving a three-year, $6.2MM contract from the Bulls, guard Sean Kilpatrick still views every game in the NBA as an audition, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s how I looked at things, and that’s how I viewed things since I got into this league, and that’s why I think I’ve had some type of success in that area.” Kilpatrick said.
  • It appears as though the Bulls plan on keeping head coach Fred Hoiberg around for a fourth season, Cowley opines in another pieceI’ve gotten unbelievable support from everybody throughout the year, going back to what I thought was a great offseason and training camp,” Hoiberg said.
  • The Rockets’ James Harden is far and away the favorite to win MVP this season, but he wouldn’t get a vote from Cavaliers‘ superstar LeBron James, reports Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Asked who he’d vote for, James unabashedly said himself. “I would vote for me. The body of work, how I’m doing it, what’s been happening with our team all year long, how we’ve got so many injuries and things of that nature, guys in and out, to be able to still keep this thing afloat, I definitely would vote me.”

Central Notes: Jackson, Booker, Griffin, Blakeney

The return of Reggie Jackson has Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy feeling optimistic about the team’s future, as Ansar Khan of details. Detroit is 3-1 since Jackson returned from a severe ankle sprain that cost him nearly three months of action. The addition of a starting point guard to go along with the big man duo of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond makes the Pistons a dangerous team going forward, in Van Gundy’s mind.

“He was healthy his first full year here and we won 44 games and we didn’t have nearly the talent around him then that we do now,” Van Gundy told Khan and other media members. “And then last year he had to come back in the middle of the season [due to tendinitis in his knee] and then this year he started off and we were 19-14. We know, it’s been demonstrated. If we can keep him healthy, we got a chance to be really good.”

In other news from around the Central Division:

  • The Pacers will have to address the power forward spot even if Thaddeus Young opts in this summer, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports opines in a mailbag column. Trevor Booker, whom the team recently signed as a free agent, could be an option, Agness adds. Booker is averaging 5.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 17.4 MPG over 10 games since joining Indiana.
  • Griffin sees similarities between joining the Pistons and getting drafted by the Clippers, as he explained to Rod Beard of the Detroit News. “For me, it was a cool challenge,” Griffin said of his Clippers experience. “I want to go there and be a part of something. Luckily, I was able to do that. I look at [Detroit] the same way. This is a franchise that has a history of winning a championship and they have an identity as a franchise. This is a place where I want to help get this franchise back to where it was and where it deserves to be.”
  • Two-way player Antonio Blakeney believes he established himself as an NBA player before the Bulls guard fractured his wrist, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. He averaged 7.9 PPG in 16.5 MPG in 19 appearances with Chicago. “I definitely think I showed a little bit of what I can do,” Blakeney said. “I have a lot more to show. I didn’t get to play many games this year.”

Central Notes: Nance, Parker, Booker

Larry Nance Jr. has never been a prolific three-pointer shooter, evidenced by his 12 career treys, but he is not scared to shoot the ball from the perimeter, Chris Fedor of writes. Nance has made just one triple in seven attempts this season but he has impressed the Cavaliers in practice with his range.

Primarily known for his athleticism and defense, Nance did not bring a known mid-range game to Cleveland. Head coach Tyronn Lue admitted that he was not aware that Nance could shoot threes. With Tristan Thompson out for a while, Nance will see time at center and he is comfortable shooting from beyond the arc if he is given space.

“If they sag off me I will shoot it,” Nance told this past Monday. “Obviously I’m not going to be K-Love with it or anything. But if they sag off me and don’t respect me as a shooter I feel completely comfortable (making them pay) and shooting it now.”

In a separate story, Joe Vardon of writes that Nance will start until Thompson is healthy. Lue was encouraged by Nance’s contributions off the bench after he traded from the Lakers.

“I was just letting (Nance) get a chance to figure out our offense, our defense and what we want to do,” Lue said. “I liked what he did off the bench because we need that spark and that energy.”

Check out other Central Division notes below:

  • Jabari Parker‘s career has hit two major snags, both of them being torn ACLs that cost him significant playing time. He was reportedly close to an extension with the Bucks that would have paid him $18MM annually — while recovering from the second ACL injury — but it didn’t happen. As he approaches free agency, Parker’s future with the Bucks remains a dilemma in the short- and long-term, NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman writes.
  • Trevor Booker was waived by the Sixers and while he had other options, he chose to sign with the Pacers. Booker’s defense and rebounding is something the Pacers have been looking to add, Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes. “I had a few other choices,” Booker said. “I factored in everything. I thought I could come to this team and bring something positive.”
  • The Pistons have been hampered by injuries all season, primarily in the backcourt. Those injuries have impacted the team’s perimeter shooting, but head coach Stan Van Gundy does not want to use injuries as an excuse, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes.  “I’m not going to make an excuse on that. We’ve got good players and we should be playing better. We’re capable of playing better and I think we will play better,” Van Gundy said. “Nobody wants to be without guys for long periods of time, but injuries are a fact of life in the NBA and you have to play through them.”

Trevor Booker Signs With Pacers

9:13pm: The signing of Booker is official, the Pacers announced on their website“As we head into this final stretch of the season Trevor will add to the depth of our roster,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. “Not only is he a solid player and a solid team player, his character fits with our team and what we are trying to accomplish.”

MARCH 3, 2:52pm: The Pacers will not sign Trey McKinney-Jones to a second 10-day contract after his first deal expired last night, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The roster spot now open will almost assuredly go to Booker, who has cleared waivers, per RealGM’s official transactions log.

FEBRUARY 28: The Sixers have yet to officially announce Trevor Booker‘s release, but it sounds like Booker’s camp has already lined up the veteran forward’s next deal. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), Booker is expected to sign with the Pacers once he clears waivers. He’ll get a minimum salary contract with Indiana, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

As we relayed earlier this afternoon, Booker was the odd man out in Philadelphia, where the Sixers had a full 15-man roster and needed to create room to sign Ersan Ilyasova. Assuming Booker is formally waived by the 76ers today, he’ll clear waivers on Friday, and will hang onto his playoff eligibility for his new team in Indiana.

Booker, 30, had been averaging a career-low 15.0 minutes per game with the Sixers, but played well for the Nets in 89 total games in 2016 and 2017. In 24.1 MPG with Brooklyn, Booker posted 10.0 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 2.0 APG, shooting 51.6% from the field.

Thaddeus Young is currently the Pacers’ primary power forward, with Bojan Bogdanovic occasionally seeing time at the four in small lineups and Domantas Sabonis playing there in some bigger lineups. Indiana’s other backups at the position are youngsters like T.J. Leaf and Alex Poythress, so Booker will provide some veteran depth.

As we noted earlier today, the Pacers are one of seven teams that doesn’t technically have an open roster spot, but has a player on a 10-day contract filling their 15th slot. That player – Trey McKinney-Jones – will see his 10-day deal expire Friday night, creating an open roster spot on Saturday for Indiana.

The Pacers’ cap charge for Booker will depend on what day his deal is finalized, but if he’s signed on Saturday, it will be worth approximately $333K. The Sixers, meanwhile, will continue to carry Booker’s old $9.125MM cap hit, minus whatever amount he gave up as part of his buyout.

Corey Brewer Signs With Thunder

MARCH 3: Brewer’s signing with the Thunder is official, per the NBA’s official transactions log.

MARCH 1, 10:39am: Brewer has committed to sign with the Thunder once he clears waivers, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Brewer talked to Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan and GM Sam Presti and considered three Eastern Conference teams before deciding.

FEBRUARY 28, 6:50pm: Brewer is likely to sign with the Thunder after all, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers officially waived Brewer earlier today, meaning the veteran swingman will be free to sign a contract with Oklahoma City as early as Friday.

3:03pm: One source tells David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link) that while the Thunder are definitely in the mix for Brewer, the veteran is more likely to land with an Eastern Conference team.

10:44am: Amick (via Twitter) adds the Jazz and Pelicans to the list of teams that could also be in the mix for Brewer, noting that several of the teams he has mentioned are also keeping an eye on the Trevor Booker situation in Philadelphia.

10:28am: The Lakers and veteran swingman Corey Brewer have reportedly reached an agreement on a buyout, which means he could become a free agent as soon as Friday. When Brewer does hit the open market, a deal with the Thunder is a “serious possibility,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski notes, the ex-Gator is likely to be drawn to Oklahoma City by the presence of his former coach at Florida, Billy Donovan, who is now the Thunder’s head coach. Even aside from the Donovan connection, Brewer would be a logical fit for OKC, since the team has been on the lookout for one more option on the wing since Andre Roberson‘s injury, tweets ESPN’s Royce Young.

While the Thunder may be the frontrunners for Brewer, he’ll talk to other teams too, per Wojnarowski. The 31-year-old is unlikely to rush his decision, according to Sam Amick of USA Today, who tweets that the Cavaliers, Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Bucks have also shown interest. Amick adds that Brewer – averaging a career-low 12.9 minutes per game this season – will be seeking a “legit role,” which figures to impact his decision.

Although several playoff teams have already been linked to Brewer, his mediocre outside shot (.280 career 3PT%) will limit his appeal to some contenders. For instance, he’s not likely to be a fit for the Raptors, notes Josh Lewenberg of TSN (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets that Minnesota has “kicked the tires” on the former Timberwolf, but says not to count on a reunion.