Utah Jazz Must Retain Trevor Booker


Jan 10, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker (33) reacts during an interview before playing the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

This past summer, the Utah Jazz inked former Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker to a two-year deal worth approximately $10 Million. At the time, many among the Utah faithful were left scratching their heads. Nine months later, Booker has become a fan favorite in Salt Lake City and a glue guy for the young Jazz.

Now, I try to avoid the hyperbolic and, outside of guys named LeBron or Durant, I’m pretty conservative in my valuation of any individual player. Nonetheless, it remains my firm belief that the team CANNOT allow Booker to get away.

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Make no mistake about it, the Jazz are a squad that needs more talent. They may not be in play for a Kevin Love or a LaMarcus Aldridge, but there are other intriguing forwards in the 2015 free agent class that could help in that department.

However GM Dennis Lindsey elects to use cap space this summer, what he can’t do is forego the second-year option on Booker’s contract. The energy and passion he brings to the basketball court each and every time he treads upon it have been invaluable to the Jazz this season. These are attributes that must be considered when building a team.

So while talent acquisition is a must, the spark provided by Booker must not be taken for granted.

In Saturday night’s victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, Booker served up his finest performance as an NBA player. Starting in place of a resting Derrick Favors, Booker abused Blazers big man Meyers Leonard to the tune of 36 points on 12-of-15 from the floor, nine rebounds and two steals.

While those numbers have never been the norm for Booker—the forward was averaging 6.7 points and five rebounds per contest heading into the bout with Portland—statistics belie Booker’s contributions to the team. Perhaps no moment exemplifies this better than his post-game comments following the team’s victorious response to the return of Enes Kanter.

The loyalty that statement shows to his teammates and the organization, the competitive fire that it exhibits, they are tangible assets. They won’t show up on a box score, but remain a significant part of the lifeblood of a team on the rise.

So while Ante Tomic may be on his way from Europe and a litany of talented forwards will be available this offseason, the Jazz would be wise to keep Booker as part of their equation. His desire and tenacity have played an undeniable part in the team’s resurgence this season. To ignore that fact would be folly.

If the Jazz are truly to fulfill their playoff potential next season, they’re going to need the occasional spark. In my estimation, Booker is just the player to provide it.

Do the right thing, DL. Exercise your option for another year of the Good Book!

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