Trevor Booker

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.

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 Pacers.com, 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 MLive.com 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.”