Trevor Booker

Atlantic Notes: VanVleet, Nets, Booker

The Raptors will have a welcomed dilemma on their hands when Delon Wright returns from a shoulder injury. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes that initial third-string point guard Fred VanVleet has made a strong case for regular minutes.

VanVleet has become an integral part of the lineup the Raptors have been closing games with during their current five-game streak. The gritty, undrafted guard has been providing skills that Dwane Casey loves while shooting an impressive 8-17 from beyond the arc.

I think we have the opportunity with Delon, Fred, Norman Powell,” starting Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry said of the fluctuating lineups. “We’ve got guys who can play basketball and guys who are very talented and play extremely hard. You never know, whoever has it going is going to finish the game.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets opted to take a flyer on Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas this week but the aspect of the trade that they’re most excited for could very well be the second round pick, Zach Lowe of ESPN says (via Nets Daily). General manager Sean Marks has been busy the last few years, acquiring second-rounders to replenish those that his predecessor traded away.
  • The latest addition to the Sixers considers himself to be a bigger version of a current fan favorite. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype recently caught up with Trevor Booker and asked him what he thinks he’ll be able to contribute to his new team. “I’ll bring a lot of passion; I’m a passionate player. I’m a guy that’s going to be aggressive, provide energy and be a pest on defense. I’m pretty much a bigger T.J. McConnell.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Booker, Fultz, Brown

Although the NBA adopted new restrictions about teams resting star players, the Sixers still have incredible freedom in deciding when to play Joel Embiid, notes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The star center sat out Saturday’s game in Cleveland and probably won’t play back-to-back nights all season. Philadelphia has a game tonight in New Orleans and elected to use Embiid then.

Under rules imposed this summer, teams can be fined if they rest healthy players in road games or nationally televised contests. However, Embiid’s physical history, which includes missing his first two seasons because of foot surgeries and appearing in just 31 games last year, allows the Sixers to utilize a “back-to-back medical restriction.”

“This is a collaborative thing,” explained Sixers coach Brett Brown. “Sometimes it’s tilted towards he wanted to play, and we wanted him to play in front of our home fans. Other times there are situations that we listen to but ultimately, sort of the holy grail of the decision rests on health. How do we feel we can manage is health the best? And often times that’s rest in between and in this case that sort of led the way and dictated the decision. It’s disappointing that Cleveland fans aren’t going to be able to see a very unique player.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Trevor Booker is excited about his new role after being acquired in Thursday’s trade with the Nets, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers picked up Booker to strengthen their bench and serve as a mentor to their younger players. “Coming to a young, up-and-coming team, I think it’s a new opportunity for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. And I’m just looking forward to playing with the fellas and coach Brown.” Booker is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
  • The Sixers plan to re-evaluate rookie Markelle Fultz in three weeks after issuing a positive medical report Saturday, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Fultz no longer has soreness in his right shoulder, and doctors found that a scapular muscle imbalance has healed. Plans for the first overall pick include “increased strength and conditioning training and elevated on-court basketball activities.”
  • Brown used an NFL analogy to describe the education Fultz is getting while he recovers, relays Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Brown called it a “Jon Gruden quarterbacks school” as he tries to teach the rookie the finer points of NBA guard play. “It’s like, ‘What do you see? What do you think? Why do you think that?’ And you treat it like it’s a college classroom,” Brown said. “Then you get him on the court, and you do things that can improve his skill but not beat up on his shoulder.”

Sixers/Nets Trade Notes: Reactions, Analysis, More

After spending the better part of 2017 on the trade block, Jahlil Okafor finally has a new NBA home, with the Sixers and Nets completing a trade on Thursday that sent Okafor, Nik Stauskas, and a 2019 second-round pick to Brooklyn in exchange for Trevor Booker. We’ve got several notes related to that deal to pass along this morning, so let’s dive right in…

Analysis:

  • Acquiring Okafor is another shrewd move for the Nets as they continue to rebuild their roster, writes Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. While Okafor didn’t generate a ton of interest on the trade market, one Western Conference exec tells Mannix that his team would have had “strong interest” in the third-year center as a free agent. “He’s a good player,” said that Western exec. “He’s probably never going to be a great player, but he will always be a very good scorer. You go get guys like that when you can.”
  • In the view of Derek Bodner of The Athletic, the Sixers essentially traded a future second-round pick for Booker, prompting Bodner to examine whether the veteran forward is worth it. Although the Athletic scribe isn’t quite sure about Booker’s fit, he notes that the deal improves Philadelphia’s bench and doesn’t put much of a dent into the team’s draft-pick stash.
  • Okafor has a chance to be a very good offensive player for the Nets, says Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.
  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) isn’t overly bullish on the trade for either team, giving the Nets a grade of B, and the Sixers a C. Even though Pelton likes Brooklyn’s side a little better, he notes that opening up a roster spot and adding some extra depth at power forward could pay off for Philadelphia.

Reactions:

  • Okafor is “extremely” excited to be a Net, a source close to the former third overall pick tells Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports.
  • Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Booker said that he wasn’t too surprised by the deal, since he felt like he might be moved at some point in 2017/18. More than anything, Booker says, he’s excited to go to an “up-and-coming team” like the Sixers, adding that he could picture himself in Philadelphia long-term if the team wants to keep him around beyond this season.
  • Joel Embiid engaged in some playful trash talk with his longtime teammate in the wake of the trade, as Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia tweets. “I made sure to let [Okafor] know that I was going to kick his ass,” Embiid said. “We play them four times a year.” The Sixers’ star center added – on a more serious note – that he’s “really happy” for Okafor, who is a good friend (Twitter link).

Other notes:

  • We typically like to break down the salary cap implications of each major NBA trade, including how the deal creates trade exceptions or impacts a club’s long-term cap outlook. However, there aren’t many cap-related items to pass along on the Sixers/Nets swap. The Nets remain under the cap, so they can’t create a trade exception, and the 76ers won’t get one either.
  • Booker, Okafor, and Stauskas all have expiring contracts, meaning neither team will create or give up any cap room for the summer of 2018. Booker will be an unrestricted free agent, while Stauskas will be eligible for restricted free agency, though he seems unlikely to get a qualifying offer. As for Okafor, he’ll be unrestricted, but the Nets won’t be able to offer him a starting salary worth more than about $6.3MM (the value of his declined 2018/19 option) if they want to re-sign him.
  • CBA rules prevent a team from acquiring a player with an exception and then aggregating his salary with another salary in a trade during the next two months. For instance, the Sixers couldn’t immediately combine Booker’s $9MM+ salary with Amir Johnson‘s $11MM salary to trade for a player earning $20MM+. However, that two-month restriction will lift just before the 2018 trade deadline, which falls on February 8.

Nets Acquire Jahlil Okafor From Sixers

5:22pm: The reported trade is now official, both teams have announced in press releases.Jahlil Okafor vertical

3:16pm: The Nets and Sixers are nearing a deal that will send Jahlil Okafor to Brooklyn, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. In the trade, Lowe adds, Philly will also send Nik Stauskas and a second-round pick to the Nets in exchange for Trevor Booker.

The second-round pick heading from the Sixers to the Nets will actually be the Knicks’ second-rounder in 2019, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. Charania also clarifies that the Nets will promptly release guard Sean Kilpatrick in order to create space for the two incoming players.

The move to Brooklyn serves as an excellent opportunity for 2015’s third overall pick. Having seen action in just two contests for the Sixers this season, Okafor was in desperate need of a change of scenery. His camp had been working directly with the franchise to find a suitable new destination since at least October.

Okafor will slot into the Nets’ depth chart as a potential starter. Given that Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a rookie back in 2015/16, it’s not unreasonable to expect him to eat into Timofey Mozgov‘s role at the five. Okafor, after all, showed up to training camp this fall in the best shape of his career.

Worth keeping an eye on is the fact that Okafor will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season thanks to Philadelphia’s decision to decline his 2018/19 fourth-year option. If the Nets want to re-sign him, they won’t be able to offer him a starting salary worth more than the value of that declined option (approximately $6.3MM).

The acquisition of Stauskas may not move the needle much for Brooklyn fans, but the former Michigan Wolverine will reunite with Caris LeVert and add depth on the perimeter. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in 2018.

Finally, the Sixers will benefit from Booker’s veteran presence and his expiring $9.1MM contract isn’t going to impact the team’s financial future. Booker has averaged 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 21.9 minutes per game so far this season and will provide extra depth for a young team that is looking to turn the corner and seriously compete in the East.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets Notes: Ownership, Crabbe, Outlook, Booker

Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of The New York Post are back with another update on the potential Nets sale, reporting that prospective bidders for the franchise have been pushing owner Mikhail Prokhorov to sell a controlling interest in the team. Prokhorov is reportedly interested in selling a 49% stake with a path for a new minority owner to purchase a controlling interest within three years, but potential buyers are hoping to gain control of the club immediately.

“They’re asking, but I don’t think he’s giving in,” one source close to the discussions tells Kosman and Lewis. However, another source suggested that he wouldn’t be shocked if Prokhorov surrenders full control immediately.

While it remains to be seen what a sale will look like, a deal could be announced in the coming days or weeks, sources tell The Post. According to Kosman and Lewis, at least two “New York financial titans” are believed to be among the potential suitors, along with a Texas-based group that lost the bidding for the Rockets. Former Knicks and MSG president Dave Checketts is also rumored to be involved in a group of prospective buyers, sources tell The Post.

Here’s more on the Nets, as we wait to see how the sale process will play out:

Nets Notes: Booker, Dudley, Johnson

Trevor Booker learned early in his career that he didn’t need to be a star to make it in the league. During his rookie year on the Wizards, he realized that he needed to find his niche.

“That’s actually been my approach ever since I came into the league,” Booker said (via Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype). “Coming into Washington, we had John Wall, who had been the No. 1 overall pick. He’s doing great right now, by the way. They were focused on him. You could see that their main focus was on John Wall, which was fine. I understood it. I had to learn then that it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t in college anymore. I realized that I needed to find my niche. I had to earn every minute and whoever I was playing against, whether it was in a game or in a practice, I had to [work hard]. I knew I had to do that to stay in this league.”

Booker found his niche as a locker room leader and when the Nets signed him last offseason, they expected him to be a veteran mentor to his young teammates. He proved to be a valuable addition and he’s enjoying his role in Brooklyn.

“I just try to tell them what I’ve been through and how I’ve stuck around in the league for seven years. I just let them know that you don’t have to be a superstar; you don’t have to go out there and score 30 points a night to make your name known and stick around in the league. You have to find your niche, work at it and do [your job] well. You don’t have to go out there and be a hero. I try to show them, as an example, look at me. I’ve averaged probably 6 points over my career and I’m going into my eighth year and still going strong. That’s the type of the thing that I’d try to instill in them,” Booker added.

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Booker believes both GM Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have done excellent jobs in year one of their tenures, as he tells Kennedy in the same piece. “[Marks] definitely gets it, and he’s an intelligent guy. I think he did a pretty good job this year of trying to change the culture…Then, with Coach Atkinson, he does a great job of developing players. Just watching him throughout the season, he’d be on the court working with players and showing them different things. And that’s the kind of thing that players need, especially young players,” Booker said.
  • The Nets were interested in signing Marvin Williams and Jared Dudley last offseason in part because of their respective reputations as excellent locker room leaders, Charles Maniego of SB Nation notes. Both players signed elsewhere and Brooklyn decided to add Randy Foye and Booker to mentor the young roster. Maniego also relays that adding high character players will again be a priority for the franchise this offseason.
  • Amir Johnson could be an option for the Nets in free agency, Maniego opines in the same piece. The power forward was named “Teammate of the Year” by the Celtics last season.

Nets Notes: Lopez, Lin, Dinwiddie, Nicholson, McDaniels

Nets GM Sean Marks spoke to the press about Brooklyn’s trade deadline activity. While the team held onto Brook Lopez and Trevor Booker (each of whom have another year left on their contract), Marks was involved in a few lower-profile transactions.

“We’re very familiar with Andrew [Nicholson]…he’s a system fit for us,” Marks said. “He’s a stellar young man and another guy with high character and that’s exactly we’re trying to do.”

The Nets acquired Nicholson along with a first-round pick and Marcus Thornton (who was subsequently waived) in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough. Bogdanovic performed well for the 9-47 Nets, but was a restricted free agent-to-be, and was dealt for an invaluable draft pick. Marks spoke about his team’s position in the upcoming draft.

“Now having two first round picks, it all helps,” Marks said. “It helps give us another vehicle where were can be systematic with the draft and see what happens. We obviously value the draft or we wouldn’t have done it. It’s about being strategic and having two picks now gives us an opportunity to move up with those picks, you can hold them where you are if your players are there at the time.”

More from Brooklyn…

  • One of the reasons Marks held onto Lopez at the deadline was to see how well he played with Jeremy Lin, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Lin has been limited to just 13 games this season due to injury, and hasn’t had an opportunity to be properly assessed by coach Kenny Atkinson. “To have a healthy Jeremy and a healthy Brook out there together with this team, it’ll be nice to evaluate that,” Marks said. “It’s something we started the season off with, and unfortunately, we only got a handful of games under our belt seeing that. We all know what those two bring to the table: They lift everybody else’s play.”
  • Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post profiled Spencer Dinwiddie, a former collegiate star at University of Colorado Boulder. Dinwiddie suffered a torn ACL during his junior year at CU, falling to the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Still just 23 years old, Dinwiddie has averaged more than 20 MPG for the first time in his career with Brooklyn. “He’s steadily getting better,” Atkinson said of Dinwiddie. “He played pretty well before the all-star break, started shooting it better and getting to the rim. We like his defense. He’s been a pleasant surprise, quite honestly.
  • Nicholson and K.J. McDaniels– each acquired at the deadline- are ready to step in right now for the rebuilding Nets. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me,” McDaniels told Greg Logan of Newsday“I’ll be able to show Brooklyn what I do, and play both ends of the court and just try to bring energy.” McDaniels’ acquisition was commended by writers across the league. Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post gave the trade an “A” grade, describing the transaction as low-risk, high-reward. “If he doesn’t do anything, the Nets can simply decline his option for next season. If he does something, then it’s found money. For a team with no talent or assets to speak of, it’s a good move to make — and saves them money to boot, as they were below the salary floor.”
  • Dan Favale of Bleacher Report echoed Bontemps’ sentiments, praising Marks for taking a flier on McDaniels. “Getting K.J. McDaniels for absolutely nothing is a great encore to parlaying Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough into Andrew Nicholson and a first-round pick,” Favale wrote. “Although McDaniels is beyond raw, he has the length and lateral gait to be a lockdown defender across all wing positions.”

Southeast Notes: Porter, Heat, Plumlee, Magic

The Wizards may not be finished dealing after a multi-player trade with the Nets this afternoon, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Washington will continue to look for help through Thursday’s trade deadline at 3 p.m. Eastern. Today’s deal, which sent Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and this year’s first-rounder to Brooklyn in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough, clears cap space to help the Wizards re-sign Otto Porter this summer, notes David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link). Nicholson, who had fallen out of the rotation in Washington, still has three seasons and nearly $20MM left on his contract.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Bogdanovic has a 15% trade kicker, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). That amounts to $157K, which Brooklyn will pay, but his cap hit for the Wizards is now $3.73MM.
  • The Heat will avoid any deadline moves that would tie up their future cap space, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. That makes them unlikely to pursue the Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler or the Nets’ Trevor Booker, who both have contracts that extend beyond this season. Jackson cites a rival GM who has spoken to Miami about a deal and believes “they seem content to stand pat.”
  • Miami expects to have Josh Richardson back in the lineup for Friday’s game, according to a tweet from the team. A foot injury has kept him out of the lineup since January 8th. “He’s had a healthy approach the last 4-5 weeks to prepare,” said coach Erik Spoelstra. Justise Winslow won’t be back this season, but he is making progress from shoulder surgery, the Heat noted (Twitter link), as his sling has been removed.
  • Hornets center Miles Plumlee will be out of action for at least two weeks with a right calf strain, the team posted on its website. An MRI revealed the second-degree strain, and Plumlee will be re-evaluated in 14 days. He has played just five games for Charlotte since being acquired from the Bucks in a February 2nd trade.
  • Despite a 21-37 record, the Magic have no plans to tank the rest of the season, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando is currently fourth in our Reverse Standings and would have an 11.9% chance of winning the lottery. Coach Frank Vogel believes it would be a mistake to try to improve those odds by losing on purpose. “As a coach, you worry about one thing, and that’s getting a group of guys that haven’t won in five years to learn how to win,” Vogel said. “That’s more important than any one player you can add.”

Eastern Notes: Gibson, Embiid, Booker

With the exception of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson is the Bulls‘ most valuable trade asset, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Gibson is making $8.95MM in the final year of his contract and Marks cites the power forward’s contract along with his tremendous durability as the reasons why his value is so high.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo said that he doesn’t expect Joel Embiid‘s knee injury to linger long-term, though he added that the team’s medical staff will ultimately make the call on when he returns to the court, as Brian Seltzer of NBA.com relays. “If the injury presents as asymptomatic, and he can show he’s healthy and able to play basketball, there’s no reason he shouldn’t play,” Colangelo said. “I don’t think there’s any potential long-term effects. This is not thought to be a severe injury. It’s thought to be a complicated injury.”
  • Trevor Booker was recently moved to the bench and he’s handled coach’s decision extremely well, Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes. Booker felt it was important to show his younger teammates how to act in the face of adversity. “We got some younger guys that’s new to it,” Booker said. “For me, being that leader, showing them different things, that’s what the young guys need.” The Nets brought in the power forward to mentor the team’s youth and to help build a winning culture, as I detailed in the inaugural edition of Fantasy Hoops.

And-Ones: Christmas, Calderon, Fultz, Parker, Dolan

A right Achilles tendon rupture has brought an end to Dionte Christmas‘ season, Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com reports. It’s an unfortunate development for the 30-year-old, as Christmas had averaged 14.9 points with 3.2 assists in 31 games with the Delaware 87ers. Delaware’s GM, Brandon Williams, lauded Christmas’ efforts in a team statement:

“[Christmas] has been a consummate professional, positive influence on the development of our young roster, and vital to our energy and drive. We will certainly miss his leadership on the court, but are inspired by his confidence as he attacks the next steps on the road to recovery.”

Other stories from around the league-

  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical profiled the Lakers, Nets, and Heat in his trade deadline series; three teams “in the rebuilding process that have limited assets.” Marks cites Jose Calderon as a buyout candidate for GM Mitch Kupchak; Calderon has previously been reported as a target for the Cavs. Trevor Booker and Brook Lopez, who are each under contract for the 2017/18 season, would provide “good value” for contending teams. While Miami’s front office have made deals in three straight trade deadlines, the Heat may be quiet come February 23. Miami has “depleted draft assets,” and appear unlikely to trade Goran Dragic or Hassan Whiteside.
  • The Vertical’s writing staff released their 2017 NBA Mock Draft, with Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Jackson going to the Celtics, Suns, and Lakers, respectively. The Vertical has Malik Monk of Kentucky falling to the Knicks at #10, calling him a good fit “under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.”
  • Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker‘s ACL injuries will create “tricky” rookie extension negotiations, Kevin Pelton of ESPN writes. While Parker’s value has been better established than LaVine’s entering contract discussions, Milwaukee GM John Hammond could limit risk by adding “guarantees based on games played” in Parker’s next contract.
  • James Dolan and Knicks management were subject to a scathing write-up from Michael Powell of the New York Times, who criticized Dolan’s lack of accountability in their confrontation. Phil Jackson, too, was targeted by Powell: “He [Jackson] fires off obscure Twitter posts poking Anthony in one rib or another, suggesting his skills are eroding and his hoop IQ low.”
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