Trevor Brooker's value, accolades grow as Wizards advance in NBA playoffs

The Clemson Sports Blog

Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker (35) blocks the shot of Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) as Martell Webster, second from right, and Carlos Boozer (5) watch during the first half of Game 5 in an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Washington Wizards forward Trevor Booker (35) blocks the shot of Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) as Martell Webster, second from right, and Carlos Boozer (5) watch during the first half of Game 5 in an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The NBA playoffs continue and the draft is still two months away, but there's already plenty of forward-looking wheeling and dealing going on, and some of it could affect the suddenly-soaring career of former Clemson star Trevor Booker.

After three seasons of battling injuries that limited his playing, Booker has played a full NBA season and has become one of the Washington Wizards' mainstays.

For the season, he's started 45 games and is averaging 11 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes played, and those numbers have proved eye-catching as he moves toward free agency or negotiating a new contract with Washington.

According the NBA website 'HoopRumors.com,' Booker's emergence this season as a starter means that the Wizards must make an offer of at least $4,677,408 to keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Other clubs will certainly be interested in a blue-collar hustler, rebounder and shot blocker, who can also take advantage of his scoring opportunities.

Just this week, TNT analyst Steve Kerr - the presumed head-coach-in-waiting of the New York Knicks under new team president Phil Jackson - raved that "Trevor Booker, it’s official, is my new favorite player in the entire league.”

According to AP, Kerr met with Jackson twice over the weekend to discuss the possibility of him taking over as the Knicks' new coach.

"There's a lot to cover on both sides and this was the first time we've talked about the job. It just opened up last week and so we've got a lot of things to discuss," Kerr said.

Jackson fired Mike Woodson and the rest of the Knicks coaching staff after a 37-45 season, and again said he wasn't interested in returning to coaching.

Though Kerr has never been a coach, he has been mentioned as a candidate for the job since Jackson was hired in March.

Meanwhile, Booker still has playoff work to do, after helping the Wizards close out their first-round series against Chicago. The Wizards will move on to play the Indiana Pacers-Atlanta Hawks winner in the second round.

The Wizards came into their series against the Bulls as the underdog, but closed out the series in short order, 4-1. It marked the first time that the franchise had ever won a seven-game series in five games.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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