Trevor Booker, Jahlil Okafor, and a Trade that “Works Well for Both Teams”

The trade went official around 6:15 Thursday night.

Jahlil Okafor is free, sent to the Brooklyn Nets along with Nik Stauskas and a second round pick for power forward Trevor Booker.

Brett Brown spoke about the deal ahead of the Los Angeles tip-off.

“I think rarely do you find a trade that seemingly works well for both teams,” the Sixers coach said. “I think this one does. I’m happy for Jahlil and I’m happy for Nik. I’ve been with those guys for a while. I think they’re going to a good situation, where they have more opportunity to get on the court. I know that program well and the General Manager (Sean Marks) is a very close friend of mine. I think Kenny (Atkinson) does a great job and I’ve known him through the years.”

Philly acquires Booker, a 30 year old veteran in his eighth NBA season. The 6’8″ South Carolina native is averaging 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game this season.

“On the flip side, what we’re getting back is a man,” Brown continued. “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 can handle not playing and just sort of being good people and handling himself like a pro. It reminds me very much of Amir (Johnson). I have several friends that have coached Trevor in the past, and, to a man, similar to Amir, (he’s described) as good people and extremely professional and extremely competitive and tough. For all those reasons I think it seems that the trade was good for everybody.”

I think Brown is right, it works for both sides.

From a Philly point of view, Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas weren’t even playing. They had zero value in the eyes of Bryan Colangelo and were not part of the future. Take that into consideration and the Sixers basically flipped a 2nd round pick for Booker, who gives you something this year without having to make a long-term financial commitment. His contract expires at the end of the season.

From a Brooklyn point of view, they acquire two players who were, not long ago, selected in the top-ten of the NBA draft. It was a low risk way to try out a pair of guys who have fallen from grace, in hopes that a change of scenery and system works out for them. Similar to Booker’s situation, if Okafor doesn’t fit in Brooklyn, they let him walk.

Inevitably, there’s some knee-jerking about not getting enough return for Jahlil, who was the #3 overall pick not long ago. Yea, well, what? If the Sixers could have gotten more for him, they would have done it by now. But his trade value became next to nothing after the franchise failed to move him when they should have.

And don’t worry about the second round pick. This club has a core in place and should be focused on putting together the final pieces, not hanging onto assets that aren’t going to get them over the top anyway. They still have plenty of draft picks over the next two seasons anyway. If Booker is a short-term acquisition, you let him walk at the end of the year, get his 9 million dollars off the books, and factor that into a big free agent deal. You also cleared about 5 million with Stauskas leaving town.

On the floor, Booker can give you 20 high-energy, active, and unselfish bench minutes. He’ll push Amir Johnson right away and should boost a second unit that really needs to improve.

“I think he can play some four, some five,” Brown said. “With the uncertainty of players – Dario will not play tonight, as an example – we sure could have used him tonight. I think as we move forward and assess Joel’s availability, and availability on back-to-backs, the abundance of bigs, to me you can never have enough of. He’s just a veteran that knows how to play and can act when called upon. He’s very prideful in staying in shape and staying game ready, so that when his time comes, he will deliver.”

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