Sniper for Sale: NY Knicks Seek to Trade 3-Point Specialist Alec Burks

Who needs a shooter? The New York Knicks have an extra sniper for sale. Alec Burks, a backup shooting guard with the Knicks, saw his playing time diminish after the acquisition of Derrick Rose in a trade. The Knicks could trade Burks to a contender seeking a reliable 3-point shooter, including the Los Angeles Lakers or Philadelphia 76ers. Or, the Knicks could exile Burks in a trade with the Orlando Magic or Cleveland Cavs.

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Alec Burks, backup shooting guard from the New York Knicks, could end up with a title contender by the trade deadline.

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Alec Burks, a backup shooting guard from the New York Knicks, could end up with a title contender by the trade deadline. (Image: Getty)

Burks averages 11 points, 4.7 rebounds, and two assists per game with the Knicks. He appeared in 20 games and started in three. He’s logging roughly 22 minutes of action off the bench this season. He’s also shooting 40.2% from 3-point range.

The Knicks have too many guards and not enough big men. They have two similar players taking up space on the bench, with Austin Rivers and Burks competing for playing time in a tough-to crack Tom Thibodeau lineup.

Right now, Thibs loves his second unit, which is led by the guard tandem of Derrick Rose and rookie Immanuel Quickley. Before Rose arrived, Burks was the main offensive option with the second unit. Once Rose returned to MSG, Burks’ playing time diminished.

Rivers (7.3 ppg) experienced a similar demotion when Burks returned to the team after recovering from an ankle injury at the start of the season. The Knicks would like to move Rivers or Burks before the trade deadline in March.

Who Is Alec Burks?

Burks, 29, was a standout player from Colorado. Before the Buffs joined the Pac-12, Burks won the Big 12 Freshman of the Year back in 2010 when he averaged 17.1 ppg and shot 35.2% from 3-point range. Burks averaged 20.5 ppg in his sophomore season and was named as a first-team All-Big 12 player before he decided to leave Boulder and head to the NBA.

The Utah Jazz selected Burks with the #12 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He spent seven full seasons in Utah as a backup shooting guard where he averaged 9.6 ppg and shot 35.5% from 3-point range. The Jazz traded Burks to the Cleveland Cavs in 2018, where he embarked on the road as a journeyman gunner. He didn’t last long in Cleveland (34 games) before they shipped him to the Sacramento Kings. He barely saw playing time in Sacramento while buried at the end of the bench.

Last season, Burks earned a roster spot with the Golden State Warriors, who were without both of the Splash Brothers. With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson out with injuries, Burks started 18 games. Burks was one of the Warriors’ top scorers, averaging 16.1 ppg and shooting 37.5% from 3-point land. Golden State decided to sell high on Burks, and traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers, who needed help on the perimeter.

Burks averaged 12.2 ppg in 18 games off the bench with the Sixers. In the postseason, he struggled, averaging 10.5 ppg, while shooting an abysmal 18.8% from beyond the arc. The Sixers were swept by the Boston Celtics and opted to not sign Burks for this season. The Knicks added him for $6 million.

Knicks Trade Burks to Lakers?

Are the Philadelphia 76ers willing to take another flier on Burks? It depends on how much faith they have in Seth Curry and Shake Milton, and if they’re willing to make a deal for a sharpshooter. The Sixers and Sacramento Kings chatted about a trade for shooting guard Buddy Hield. If Hield doesn’t work out, will the Sixers pursue Rivers or Burks from the Knicks?

Doc Rivers, the current head coach of the Sixers, is the father of the Knicks’ Rivers. It makes sense the Sixers would pass on a guy that shot blanks for them last postseason in favor of nepotism.

The LA Lakers are another team that popped up in Burks trade rumors. The Lakers have a bigger issue if Anthony Davis is out longer than expected, which is why they’re eying a big man like Mo Bomba or a sharpshooting power forward like PJ Tucker. But, they could always add another gunner to come off the bench. When you have a team like the Lakers with a pair of alphas in LeBron James and Davis, then you have to spread the floor with sharpshooters.

The Lakers would have to give up Wesley Matthews or a second-round draft pick for Burks. The Lakers are keen on Talen Horton-Tucker (6.8 ppg), but he’s untested as far as the postseason goes. The Knicks don’t need another young guard who needs playing time to develop. They’ll gladly take a draft pick or an expiring veteran contract like Matthews (at $3.6 million).

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Burks for a Big Man?

Starting center Mitchell Robinson fractured his hand last week and he’s out for another month. Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson have filled in for Robinson, but the Knicks are worried about the 35-year old Gibson’s durability. The Knicks are eying a center, which means they could trade Burks to the Cleveland Cavs or the Orlando Magic.

Orlando Magic center Mo Bomba attracted interest from both the LA Lakers and the Knicks. The Magic need a point guard after losing Markelle Fultz with a season-ending ACL injury and Cole Anthony with a ribs injury. The Knicks could work out a trade with the Magic for Bomba that includes Burks while also dumping little-used point guard Frank Ntilikina, who appeared in just four games this season.

The Cavs are serious about trading center Andre Drummond. They have no need for the veteran center and would rather start Jarrett Allen, whom they acquired in the four-team James Harden trade. Burks could return to the Cavs for a second stint involving a trade for Drummond.

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