One minute, Trevor Booker was a veteran leader playing major minutes off the bench for the young Nets, and the next minute, he was with the up-and-coming 76ers and saw his role decline after scoring in double figures his first three games with them.
Booker returned to Barclays Center Wednesday night to face the Nets for the first time since they traded him to the Sixers as part of the deal for Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas. In the past week, Booker has started to find his footing with his new team, and his playing time has expanded again.
“He’s just energy,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “He’s sort of raw energy, lightning in a bottle from and interior position. He’s a great person and wonderful teammate and has really come in and given us a spark many nights.”
That was Booker’s role with the Nets, who were 3-10 in their previous 13 games before facing the Sixers and still are struggling to decide where Okafor and Stauskas fit. Booker said he remains in constant contact with his former Nets teammates but is uncertain of the cause for their recent slump.
Asked about his own adjustment to playing with the Sixers, Booker said, “It’s great because we’re winning. A young team with a lot of talent. Just to fit in with these guys on the court, when I first got there, it was kind of tough trying to jell with the new teammates and the chemistry and all of that. As time went on, I think I’m doing a lot better job.”
Booker’s veteran presence was important to the Nets’ rebuild as a mentor, but he left on good terms and said there was no sense of betrayal.
“I just talked to everybody, even [general manager] Sean Marks,” Booker said. “I’m still on good terms. A lot of people have been texting me: ‘Good luck in your revenge game.’ There’s no revenge. It’s nothing but good vibes.”