Trevor Booker's first taste of the free agency process comes this summer. Before leaving town last month, the energy forward expressed interest in returning to the Wizards, but admitted, "I have no clue what’s going to happen right now."
The not knowing of the future and process might explain some of the interesting comments from Booker over the last couple of days.
First, there was this cryptic tweet on Sunday
Successful day of meetings. Big things coming.— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) June 8, 2014
Then ProBasketballTalk found an interview with Booker conducted over the weekend at his basketball camp held at his former high school in South Carolina. This quote from the goupstate.com article stands out:
Booker is now going through free agency for the first time and is an unrestricted free agent. He is excited about the process and looking forward to seeing what happens next.
“It's the first time so my agent is talking me through it, letting me know every step. A lot of teams are calling right now that are interested,” he said. “We're in negotiations with a few different teams, so I guess we'll just see how the summer pans out.”
First of all, Booker is a restricted free agent and under contract until June 30. The Wizards need to make Booker a qualifying offer or renounce his rights. No other teams can negotiate with Booker until July 1 at the earliest. So the idea that Booker's camp is in negotiations with different teams is against the rules.
PBT contacted the Wizards about whether Washington had granted Booker permission to speak to other teams. Via email, a spokesman replied, “NBA players can’t negotiate with other teams until July 1st.” More from PBT's Dan Feldman:
Neither the NBA nor Booker’s agent, Andy Miller, immediately returned requests for comment.
I see three possibilities:
1. Miller and Booker have miscommunicated about the amount of interest he’s received.
2. Booker is embellishing his value during a hometown interview.
3. Teams have contacted Booker’s agent to express interest, likely violating unenforced NBA tampering rules.
Having been around Booker over the years, I'd dismiss the the second item. Not his style. As for the other guesses, neither would surprise. Booker is a direct speaker, not one to dance around a topic. He also, as we've established, is going through the free agency for the first time. Some level of miscommunication seems likely.
Booker is one of 10 players entering free agency or on a team option for next season. That means plenty of uncertainty in the weeks ahead of Washington, but it seems reasonable the team would want the 6-foot-8 forward back. The cost might be higher than the expected qualifying offer. The cost for letting him leave might be steeper. The Wizards do have a call to make. Sounds like other teams have been making calls as well.