Celtics reportedly interested in Knicks guard Alec Burks


From the “yeah, that makes sense” department, the Celtics are among the teams interested in New York Knicks guard Alec Burks, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

Kyrie Irving opted in with the Nets after all

Begley reports that the Knicks are looking to clear more cap space so they can make a run at Jalen Brunson in free agency. They already cleared some by trading Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons last week.

As a result, they would be looking to move Burks and his $10 million salary without taking back any contracts in return. That means, ideally, the team they’re trading with would have to have a traded player exception for at least $10 million.

As it turns out, only four teams have a TPE that big, and the Celtics are one of them. They have one for $17.1 million -- created by the Evan Fournier sign-and-trade with the Knicks last summer -- that expires on July 18.

The 30-year-old Burks (soon to be 31) played 81 games for the Knicks last season, starting 44 of them. He averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 28.6 minutes per game while shooting 40.4% from three-point range.

Burks actually unseated Walker as the Knicks’ starting point guard, although two-guard or wing is really his more natural position. He would come off the bench for the Celtics, and his positional versatility, shooting and ability to handle the ball makes him an appealing option in that role.

Burks’ contract is only guaranteed through next season, but he has a $10.5 million team option for 2023-24.

Obviously, it would be great if the Celtics could land someone better than Burks with their big TPE. If they end up only using $10 million of it out of $17.1 million, there will be fans who are disappointed.

But it’s worth a reminder that using TPEs isn’t easy. While it’s fun to make lists of every good player making $17.1 million or less, the Celtics still have to figure out a trade for that player that both teams agree to, and it has to be one that doesn’t involve the Celtics sending contracts the other way. Oh, and they only have three more weeks to figure it out.

With that in mind, getting Burks -- a player who could legitimately improve their bench scoring -- would be better than not using it at all. And it seems like it would be a fairly easy deal to make given that the Knicks’ main motivation is to simply clear cap space, not necessarily get equal value or high draft picks. The Knicks actually gave up the 13th overall pick along with Walker in that trade last week just to get his salary off the books.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports