Washington Wizards free agent power forward, Trevor Booker, was rumored at the start of free agency to be on the Utah Jazz’s free agency radar. Rumors surrounding the two sides have been quiet since then, but on Tuesday, Booker agreed to a deal with the Jazz.
Later after Lee, a Wizards beat writer for the Washington Post, reported the agreement, Adrian Wojnorowski of Yahoo Sports confirmed the deal.
Booker’s signing with the Jazz is for a reported 2-years, $10 million. Booker is the eleventh player now on the Jazz books for next season with a guaranteed contract. Jazz are now at about $55.2 million in guaranteed deals, which is just under the salary floor of $55.8 million. Players such as Ian Clark, John Lucas III, Erik Murphy, and Malcolm Thomas all have an non-guaranteed contract for next season.
The signing of Booker really decides the future fate of Murphy and Thomas, who are down in Las Vegas with the Jazz’s summer league team. Murphy, who plays the power forward position, looks to be competing for a position that isn’t of need anymore. Thomas, who plays more as an in between player, could also be seen as the same as Murphy in the aspect that the position is now filled.
As far as Clark and Lucas are concerned, the Jazz should be guaranteeing at least one of those contracts, and more than likely it will be Lucas.
Booker started in 26 of the final 30 games last season for the Wizards. In those 26 games, Booker shot better than 56% from the field.
Now that Booker is on the Jazz’s roster for next season, how does this play out for the upcoming year?
According to David Locke, radio voice of the Utah Jazz, he says that the Jazz have made it very clear that the majority of the minutes this upcoming season will go to the young players such as Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, and even threw in Rudy Gobert.
Locke also says that Booker could be placed into the starting lineup if someone gets injured, and also gives the Jazz the flexibility to stay big if and when he enters the game off the bench. If the Jazz want to spread things out, then they would insert Steve Novak off the bench.
Since the hire of new head, Quin Snyder, the talk has been that the Jazz are wanting to run a more wide open offense, and will be getting up and down the court. They have also talked about adding a “stretch four” for the main purpose to spread open the court. They also stated that they viewed both Kanter and Favors primarily as centers, and not power forwards.
With all that being said, it seemed to sound like the Jazz were not going to start the two at the same time, and rather bring Kanter (presumably) off the bench behind Favors. With the signing of Booker, and adding Novak, Locke believes that the Jazz are looking at moving Kanter to the power forward position, and starting him alongside Favors. He also believes that Gobert is the center off the bench behind Favors, and either Booker or Novak will back up Kanter.
As you can see, Jeremy Evans hasn’t been mentioned anywhere on that list. To me, the addition of Booker basically solidifies that Evans could be left completely out of rotation minutes this season, and some fans may feel a bit upset about that after Evans played pretty well given the time last year. They also could view Evans as more of a small forward than a power forward.
The Jazz rotation currently seems to look as follows:
SG – Dante Exum, Alec Burks
PF – Enes Kanter, Steve Novak, Trevor Booker
C – Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
The Jazz are looking like they are once again going to be extremely young next season, however, the experience that will be given to these young players will be great for them as we build towards the future.