Now, Booker’s relentless motor could provide some more depth for a Sixers team in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt after years of watching ping pong balls in the lottery.
“I think that we’re getting a man,” 76ers head coach Brett Brown said when announcing the trade, according to The Philadelphia Tribune’s Eric Moody. “I think we’re getting a veteran that has been there, done that. There is a level of toughness and versatility that interests me. He’s shown that he can play and handle not playing and be good people in handling himself like a pro. It reminds me very much of [Amir Johnson].
“I have several friends who have coached Trevor, and to a man, similar to Amir, he just comes off as good people, extremely professional and incredibly competitive and tough.”
Booker is a good fit in Philadelphia
Why? Because he doesn’t need the ball to leave his mark on a game.
Booker had been with the Nets for a season and some change after four years with the Wizards and two seasons in Utah. At every stop, he did the same thing: throw his body around, bang with players, and fight for his team.
On a team with two high-usage players in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid (and soon-to-be another in Markelle Fultz), the 76ers have their fair share of options on offense. Throw in Dario Saric, J.J. Redick, and Robert Covington, and touches could be hard to find.
Booker thrives doing the dirty work — fighting for rebounds, diving for loose balls, and finishing through contact at the rim. Philly can bring him off the bench, and he makes any lineup better by competing with energy around the rim.
Trevor Booker handling his business pic.twitter.com/jylnYgkTR8— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) November 30, 2017
Booker is also the guy who made one of the wildest circus shots of all time:
Trevor Booker was dealt out of Brooklyn in the Jahlil Okafor trade, so it's only right we bring this video back up. (2015) pic.twitter.com/CwzBcijnHv— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) December 7, 2017
At times, especially during his tenure in Brooklyn, Booker began creating offense on his own. Under Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, the veteran forward showed his ball handling skills, pushing the ball on rebounds and occasionally taking his man off the dribble.
The 76ers don’t need Booker to be a playmaker — they have Simmons and Embiid for that. But their newest acquisition brings a motor and a toughness that can help any team.
Booker’s contract also comes off the books this summer
The Nets signed the 30-year-old forward to a two-year, $18.4 million contract in 2016, and Booker is scheduled to become a free agent next summer. That means the 76ers, a team already poised to have cap space to make a max contract offer at, say LeBron James, will maintain cap room even after adding Booker via trade.
That could be a big deal if Philly wants to make a big splash on the open market during the offseason.
Thursday’s trade may go down forever as the Jahlil Okafor deal, and rightfully so, but the 76ers did get back an energetic player in Trevor Booker as part of the move. And if we know anything about Booker’s game, it’s that he’ll find a way to help his team, whether he’s on the court or off it.
And at this point in Philly’s development into an East playoff team, that can’t hurt at all.