This off-season has shown us plenty of examples where General Managers are going more crazy than usual. How else do I even broach the subject of former Utah Jazz bigman Enes Kanter getting a RFA deal from the Portland Trail Blazers that will cost the Oklahoma City Thunder $70 million dollars to match? Kanter is going to get so much money he could essentially purchase Greece, and thus fulfill the long awaited Ottoman conquest of the Aegean. So GM's are going crazy. Thankfully, not all of them are. Utah Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey has smartly locked up energy big Trevor Booker for the remaining full value of his contract.Booker had signed a two-year deal last off-season, where the second year would only have the Jazz on the hook for $250,000. That's a lot less than the $4.8 million ($4,775,000 according to Basketball Insiders) he would otherwise get paid if he spends the entire 2015-2016 season here.
According to multiple sources, originally reported by the Salt Lake Tribune's Tony Jones, Booker is going to get all of the money he signed for. This is a no-brainer. No one else gives his production, and variety of tools, for such a low price. Seriously, Kanter is getting paid $17+ million a year. Booker doesn't have the back to the basket game or natural offensive talent, but he hustles all day long and is not 1/4th the player Kanter is. He's probably 17/20ths. This is a relative steal.
Last season Booker played in 79 games for the team, including 5 starts. He posted career highs in total minutes, and averaged 7.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.5 spg, and 0.5 bpg. Most impressive was his nearly newfound ability to hit the three pointer. Before joining the Jazz he had gone 1 for 10 in four seasons with the Washington Wizards. With the team he went 20 and 84, taking 1.1 threes a game on average, while hitting 34.5% of his attempts. He is undersized for the position but has a great motor. He may not be in the long term plans for the team, but Booker is beloved by fans and is a perfect player on this team.
He will be a big part of the Jazz frontcourt, helping out Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert -- while not being good enough to really prevent Trey Lyles (and/or Tibor Pleiss) from getting the playing time they may earn through practice. I'm happy with Trevor here. I wish him the best. He's a good guy for this team, and at 27, brings some maturity to a very young team. He can be replaced, and he has a very tradeable contract if we look at him as an asset. If he is a player, then he's the type of player you want on your team. And the type you hate to play against.
A motivated Trevor Booker in a contract year will want to get at least his career average of 20.2 mpg this next season from head coach Quin Synder. If you give him 20, while giving out 65 to Derrick and Rudy that leaves only 11 minutes left for whomever is hungriest. And in this scenario, Booker may be hungry for another five more if Trey Lyles, Grant Jerrett, Jack Cooley (if he's with the team), or Tibor Pleiss aren't up to claim them.
I bet Kanter will make more headlines next season, but Booker will help his team win more games.