Trevor Booker

Bad blood? The exact opposite for Trevor Booker

Bad blood? The exact opposite for Trevor Booker

Trevor Booker's time with the Sixers was short, and he's OK with that.

The Sixers bought out Booker on Feb. 28 to make room for Ersan Ilyasova less than three months after they acquired him from the Nets in the Jahlil Okafor trade. 

The eighth-year veteran signed with the Pacers days later.

"Honestly, no disrespect to them, but I was pretty excited," Booker said of the Sixers’ buyout Tuesday from the Pacers’ locker room. "Of course I was going to miss my teammates and everybody, but I was excited for a new opportunity. I feel like I really just didn't fit in well here. But I did love my time here. But I'm loving my time in Indiana right now." 

Booker never settled into a consistent role with the Sixers. He averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15.0 minutes off the bench over 33 games. 

When the Sixers looked to add scoring and versatility to the second unit with Ilyasova, they parted ways. Booker feels he had found a match with his third NBA team this season. 

"I think just the style of play, it's just a lot better for me," Booker said. "I can set more ball screens, push the ball up the court a little bit. I just feel a little bit more free." 

Booker will be a free agent in the summer. After bouncing around the NBA this season, he wouldn't mind sticking with the Pacers for a while. 

"I would definitely like for it to be long term," Booker said. "But both sides have to like each other. I'm loving it right now, so I guess we'll see in the offseason."

What Ersan Ilyasova brings to Sixers this time

USA Today Images

What Ersan Ilyasova brings to Sixers this time

Updated: 9:25 p.m.

MIAMI — He's back.

The Sixers on Wednesday re-signed veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova following his buyout from the Hawks. Ilyasova played 53 games for the Sixers last season before they traded him to Atlanta in exchange for Tiago Splitter.

In order to clear a roster spot for Ilyasova, the Sixers waived power forward Trevor Booker. He will sign with the Pacers, per multiple reports. The Sixers acquired Booker Dec. 7 of this season from the Nets for Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas and a 2018 second-round pick. Booker averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 33 games for the Sixers. 

Booker was one of only three players (not including Marco Belinelli) with expiring contracts, the easiest kind of contract to include in this type of scenario. Starting shooting guard JJ Redick was not being moved and backup center Amir Johnson adds insurance at the five spot behind Joel Embiid. 

Booker thanked Sixers fans on Twitter.

Ilyasova returns to the Sixers after making a strong impact in his short time. The Sixers first acquired him in October 2016 from the Thunder for Jerami Grant. Ilyasova moved into the starting four spot, adding floor spacing and instant experience to a young lineup.

His addition also gave Dario Saric the opportunity to continue to develop in the NBA off the bench without the pressures of starting.

Ilyasova was a main contributor in the Sixers' 10-5 month of January, a key point for the team that got Embiid thinking playoffs.

"He was great, especially the pairing of both of us," Embiid said earlier this week. "I remember we had great times going back to that January month. Everybody was part of it. But he's a great player, stretch four, he's actually really good defensively. I don't remember the last time any guys on our team took a charge, so he's going to bring that in."

Ilyasova averaged 10.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and shot 36 percent from three in 46 games (40 starts) with the Hawks this season. He adds another boost to the second unit, which the Sixers have been enhancing with veterans since a quiet trade deadline. Earlier this month, they signed shooting guard Belinelli, Ilyasova's teammate on the Hawks this season, after he also was bought out.

"He's a great dude," T.J. McConnell said of Ilyasova. "Great teammate, very talented, and he works super hard. In the short time he was here, he was in the gym relentlessly and it was crazy. He taught me a lot about hard work."

The Sixers will need contributions from Ilyasova. They have lost their last two games against the playoff-contending Wizards and Heat and face the Cavaliers Thursday.

Sixers waive scrappy forward for Ilyasova

AP Images

Sixers waive scrappy forward for Ilyasova

Updated: 9:40 p.m.

Trevor Booker is the roster casualty for the Sixers to make room for Ersan Ilyasova.

Booker himself confirmed his side of the transaction.

The reunion between the Sixers and Ilyasova was reported earlier in the week after the forward had his contract bought out by the Atlanta Hawks.

Booker, acquired by the Sixers in the trade that sent Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas to the Brooklyn Nets, has averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15 minutes in his 33 games with the Sixers. But he's not really a player whose value can be determined by stats because so much of Booker's game relies on hustle, diving for loose balls, helping out on the offensive glass.

Booker plays the same position as Ilyasova, though, so he seemed like the likely cut. Booker is headed to the Pacers.

Ilyasova is back after playing 53 games (40 starts) with the Sixers last season. He averaged 14.8 points and 5.9 boards with the Sixers but will obviously be playing a lesser role on this better, deeper team.

The recent additions of Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli have added shooting to the Sixers' second unit, and Bryan Colangelo was able to land both for nothing but money, waiting out Atlanta's trade deadline requests.