Trevor Booker

Trevor Booker Hopes To Join NBA Team Later In Season

Trevor Booker joined China’s Shanxi Brave Dragons back in August, but recently left the team. Now we know why. According to Booker’s agency, Tandem Sports and Entertainment, the veteran power forward is returning to America to undergo a surgical procedure on a foot injury he suffered in China.

“Trevor is extremely disappointed to miss this season with Shanxi,” Booker’s agent Jim Tanner said in a statement. “He is determined to devote all of the rehab and recovery time necessary in order to be in the best shape possible.”

While the announcement doesn’t offer many specifics on Booker’s injury, his agency suggests he’s expected to make a full recovery in time to join an NBA team in the new year. As such, Booker likely won’t be on teams’ radars for the first couple months of the season, but it’s possible we’ll see him on the roster by around the All-Star break. When the veteran first signed with Shanxi, he vowed that he’d be “back on a NBA floor terrorizing people again soon enough.”

Booker, who will turn 31 next month, began the 2017/18 campaign with the Nets but was traded to Philadelphia in the deal that send Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas to Brooklyn. When the Sixers signed Ersan Ilyasova later in the season, Booker became expendable and was released. After clearing waivers, he signed with Indiana and finished the season with the Pacers. For the year, he averaged 6.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.2 APG in 68 total games (17.0 MPG) for three teams.

Chris McCullough Expected To Replace Trevor Booker On Chinese Team

A day after being waived by the Pistons, former first-round pick Chris McCullough appears to have lined up a new professional opportunity.

According to a pair of reports from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, McCullough is poised to sign with the Shanxi Brave Dragons in China, replacing veteran NBA forward Trevor Booker, who is said to be parting ways with the club.

Booker, who reached a one-year agreement with Shanxi two months ago, reportedly signed a one-year contract worth $2MM plus incentives. It’s not clear why the union between the two sides is coming to such an early end, but if Booker is officially released and receives FIBA clearance, he’ll be a candidate to join an NBA team at some point this season. He’s said to have received interest from the Cavaliers, Heat, and Timberwolves before signing with Shanxi.

As for McCullough, the former Nets and Wizards forward joined the Pistons for training camp, but was released by Detroit on Sunday. The 23-year-old, who was drafted 29th overall in 2015, has appeared in 59 total regular season games for Brooklyn and Washington, averaging 3.3 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 9.0 minutes per contest.

Assuming he finalizes a deal with Shanxi, McCullough will get an opportunity for more playing time in China. He’ll clear waivers on Tuesday if no NBA team places a claim.

And-Ones: NBAGL Showcase, MVP, Pick, Booker

The NBA G League’s annual showcase, which typically takes place in January, is expected to happen from December 19-22 in Las Vegas this year, sources tell Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days. As Johnson details, the event is typically hosted by a G League team, with the Raptors 905 serving as the host in Mississauga in recent years. However, the showcase will move to a neutral site this year, as the league has outgrown the facilities of most NBAGL cities.

Johnson also notes that G League president Malcolm Turner believes the NBAGL is on track to have 30 teams within the next 12 to 18 months. The league is prepared to enter the 2018/19 season with 27 franchises, as we outlined earlier today. The Pelicans, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers are the only NBA clubs without their own affiliates, but it sounds like Turner expects those teams to get involved in the G League soon.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post revisits one of the most impactful NBA decisions of the last few years, exploring the players’ rejection of salary-cap smoothing in 2015. While the lack of cap smoothing has been the subject of plenty of discussion in recent years, Bontemps provides some interesting new tidbits, including a note that the players’ union expected the NBA to counter when it first turned down the league’s cap-smoothing proposal — the league didn’t come back with a new offer of its own.
  • ESPN’s early forecast for the 2018/19 NBA MVP has LeBron James as the odds-on favorite, followed by Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, and the reigning winner, James Harden.
  • In an interesting conversation with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, longtime international basketball reporter David Pick explains why he’s looking to make the transition from journalist to agent.
  • Alex Kennedy passes along a follow-up note on Trevor Booker‘s deal with China’s Shanxi Brave Dragons, tweeting that Booker received interest from the Cavaliers, Heat, and Timberwolves, and also turned down an offer from Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv before signing with Shanxi.

Trevor Booker To Play In China

Veteran NBA power forward Trevor Booker has announced that he’ll play in China during the 2018/19 season.

“Although I know I belong in the NBA, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be heading to China this upcoming season,” Booker wrote in a tweet. “The summer didn’t pan out as I hoped, but I assure you that I’ll be back on a NBA floor terrorizing people again soon enough.”

While Booker doesn’t name his new team in his announcement, a report over the weekend indicated that he was nearing a deal with the Shanxi Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype confirms (via Twitter) that Booker has finalized a one-year contract with Shanxi. It’ll be worth $2MM, plus incentives, per Kennedy.

Because the CBA season ends before the NBA season does, Booker should have the opportunity to return stateside and catch on with an NBA team before the playoffs begin next April. Ty Lawson did something similar this past year, signing with the Wizards at the end of the season after spending the rest of the year with the Shandong Golden Stars in China.

Booker, 30, began the 2017/18 campaign with the Nets but was traded to Philadelphia in the deal that send Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas to Brooklyn. When the Sixers signed Ersan Ilyasova later in the season, Booker became expendable and was released. After clearing waivers, he signed with Indiana and finished the season with the Pacers. For the year, he averaged 6.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.2 APG in 68 total games (17.0 MPG) for three teams.

Trevor Booker Nearing Deal With Chinese Team?

Free agent forward Trevor Booker is getting close to reaching an agreement with the Shanxi Brave Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, league sources tell Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Booker, 30, began the 2017/18 campaign with the Nets but was traded to Philadelphia in the deal that send Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas to Brooklyn. When the Sixers signed Ersan Ilyasova later in the season, Booker became expendable and was released. After clearing waivers, he signed with Indiana and finished the season with the Pacers. For the year, he averaged 6.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.2 APG in 68 total games (17.0 MPG).

The Jazz, Pelicans, Timberwolves, Rockets, Knicks, and Spurs were linked to Booker early in free agency, and the Cavaliers were also said to have interest in the veteran forward later in July. However, five weeks into the 2018 free agent period, no NBA deal has materialized for the former first-round pick out of Clemson.

If Booker finalizes a deal with the Shanxi Brave Dragons, he’ll be the latest name on a growing list of NBA veterans who have played for the club. Brandon Jennings, Luis Scola, Stephon Marbury, and Samuel Dalembert are among the players who have spent time with Shanxi.

Booker would also become the third noteworthy – and longtime – NBA big man to make the move to the Chinese Basketball Association this offseason. Al Jefferson and Marreese Speights have reportedly agreed to deals with CBA clubs this summer too.

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.com.

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 ESPN.com (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 ESPN.com (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 Cleveland.com 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.