A pair of scuffling teams reportedly made a mutually beneficial deal Wednesday as the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15) reportedly sent aging sharpshooter Kyle Korver to the slumping Utah Jazz (9-12).
Korver was promised a trade out of Cleveland in the event LeBron James departed this past summer and now returns to the team he played three seasons for in the late aughts.
Here are the parameters of the deal as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Let's give out some grades:
The disappointing Jazz, who were expected to be firmly in the mix for a top-four seed in the Western Conference this season, desperately need a spark of any kind. They've had a whole lot of concerns so far and shooting has undeniably been one of them. They rank 29th in the NBA in 3-point percentage and 27th in overall offensive efficiency. This move should help rectify that.
Korver is 37 but he remains an elite 3-point shooter at 46.3 percent on the season and a wonderful off-ball mover. Having him to space the floor around a Donovan Mitchell-Rudy Gobert pick-and-roll or a Joe Ingles-Gobert pick-and-roll should make the Jazz pretty tough to guard. They'll have the option of running four-out one-in lineups, dotting the floor with shooters in Mitchell, Ingles, Korver, and Jae Crowder as Gobert sucks in defenders with his vertical roll gravity.
The Jazz were already light on playmakers and losing Burks doesn't help in that regard. But on-ball creation matters less when you have a player like Korver who can generate good looks for himself simply by pulling the quick trigger out of dribble-handoffs or catching and shooting off of pin-downs; sometimes off-ball creation can be just as valuable.
The downside: this does nothing to bolster what's been a very average Jazz defense. Scoring is their biggest weakness but the sudden defensive drop-off has been their most mystifying issue so far this season. Korver can get by on hard work and smarts at that end of the floor, but with his age and physical limitations, he's no one's idea of a stopper. And Burks has been a solid contributor off Utah's bench, so it's not like the Jazz are getting Korver for free.
It may be underwhelming on the surface but this is a nice piece of business for Cleveland - the kind of marginal move rebuilding teams have to make. The Cavs move a player they had zero use for. In return, they get a pair of draft picks and a player who could either be a part of their future - Burks is a viable rotation player who's still just 27 - or be flipped for another draft asset.
Burks' contract is steep - he's making $11.5 million this season. But it's an expiring deal which means it should be tradeable. He has good size for his position and has been a capable scorer this season, averaging 19.1 points per 36 minutes and above-average 3-point shooting at 37.2 percent. He's also a passable wing defender.
If they don't intend to keep him, the Cavs should be able to flip Burks to a playoff team for at least another second-rounder. That return could increase if they're willing to take back a longer-term, bad-money deal to offset salary. But the Cavs could also keep him, which may not be a bad option given how disappointing Rodney Hood has been.
All told, this is a good return for a team that needs whatever long-term assets it can get.