When Trevor Booker was a rookie with the Wizards back in the 2010-11 preseason, he was fighting a cagey veteran for front court playing time. Booker won and Sean Marks was cut. Marks later signed with Portland in what was his final NBA season.
Flash forward to this off-season and Booker was negotiating a new contract with a cagey GM. Same guy. Booker wound up with a two-year, $18.37 million contract and Marks had himself a power forward, filling the gap created when he traded Thaddeus Young for the rights to Caris LeVert.
In an interview with Basketball Insiders Alex Kennedy, Booker talked about why he joined a rebuilding team ... and the role Marks played in his decision.
“Brooklyn was one of the teams pursuing me from the beginning and I knew Sean Marks because we had a short stint together in Washington when he was still playing. I know what kind of a guy he is and what kind of an organization he came from with the Spurs, which is an A-1 organization.
“Coach [Kenny] Atkinson came from a great organization in Atlanta too. After doing a little research on him, I was comfortable with him and I was comfortable with the whole situation. I bought into what they are doing.”
Booker is known as a heady player, beloved by his teammates. He was voted the Jazz best teammate last season in a vote arranged by the players union. (Brook Lopez was the Nets choice.)
Rebuilding doesn’t seem to bother him, not in Marks’ character-driven arrangement.
“We have a lot of players that have something to prove. They didn’t get the opportunity that they wanted somewhere else and they saw a great opportunity in Brooklyn or whatever the case is. I think we have a lot of players that have something to go out there and prove, and I think we’ll see that come out in Brooklyn.”
Booker notes he’s been through rebuilds in both Washington and Utah and thinks that experience will help him connect with younger players going through the process for the first time.
“Not just as a team, but as an individual, you’re going to take your lumps. The younger players will need somebody to step up and be there for them during the season, and I think I can be that guy.”
But Booker isn’t likely to treat one of his young Jazz teammates with kindness. In the hours after the Basketball Insiders interview was published, Rudy Gobert wondered if Booker talked about his hairline, apparently a sore point.
Shots fired...you will be dunked on this season https://t.co/CVPQdY1n8R— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) October 8, 2016
The Nets play the Jazz January 2 at Barclays Center.