With a budding player in Rodney Hood, another lottery draft pick, plenty of cap space, and rumors of Jazz intending to be very active in trade talks, it begs the question: Is Alec Burks on the trading block this summer? To put it simply, no.
Are there scenarios where he could be traded? Sure, just as there are scenarios where Derrick Favors could be traded, but it’s highly highly unlikely, and here are the reasons why:
Not only did Alec Burks regress in terms of on court production in almost every major statistical category, but he also underwent serious surgery, and received an enormous pay raise.
Read that again, because that is an interesting combination of events. It isn’t any single one of those three bullet points that drastically reduces Burks trade value; it is the unique and unfortunate combination of all three.
This is somewhat elementary, but bear with me. When a player incurs a severe injury and hasn’t played in a game since that injury, it hurts his market value (e.g. Al Harrington and Eric Gordon). When a player regresses from the previous season, it hurts his market value (e.g. Hedo Turkoglu and Paul Millsap’s final year in Utah). When a player receives a new substantially larger contract without improving, it hurts his trade value (e.g. Kemba Walker and Larry Sanders). Alec Burks checks all three.
Burks represents a lot of risk for any team that would consider trading for him. Significant questions about Burks remain.
And while many teams would be willing to accept that risk, now they don’t have the luxury of rolling the dice on him while playing on a rookie contract. So are teams willing to take the risk with a fat $10 million bill attached? Will Burks fully recover from his injury, which he admitted forced him to relearn how to shoot? Are you positive his drop in TS%, PER, VORP, and BPM was just a product of a nagging injury or a new coach and system?
Most Jazz fans will answer all the previous questions with a resounding “Yes!”, but how will teams who don’t have an emotional attachment to him and haven’t been able to watch him rehab firsthand or converse with him privately answer those same questions? They will certainly be more dubious, and rightfully so. That doesn’t mean the Jazz won’t get calls inquiring about Burks, but the offers will leave a lot to be desired.
Dennis Lindsey, the front office, and fans all believe in Alec Burks (as demonstrated by the contract extension). They not only think that he can return to form, they believe he has several more levels he can and will climb.
This likely equates to the Jazz valuing Burks at a level higher than the market (for all the previously stated reasons). This means that for the Jazz to trade Burks they will either have to find a team that, for whatever reason, values Burks at the same level the Jazz do (in spite of the injury, regression, and the big contract) or the Jazz will have to trade Burks below what they value him at.
Considering Dennis Lindsey has thus far proven to be an expert asset manager, I think it’s safe to say he won’t be selling low on Burks. Half a season of improved production from Burks could reverse his trade market value trend, which Lindsey surely knows.
So the next time you see Alec Burks listed in a hypothetical trade scenario or included in a trade rumor, rest easy, you’ll in all likelihood be watching Houdini perform in a Jazz uniform next season.