The Cavs Rebuild Begins
Credit: Noah Graham, NBAE/Getty Images
At long last, the Cleveland Cavaliers rebuild began in earnest.
Kyle Korver, whose long-distance prowess and affordable price tag made him one of the most desirable targets of the developing NBA trade market, took his talents back to Salt Lake City, and a Jazz team that has been needing a shake-up after under- performing through the first quarter. They certainly hope that he will bring life to their struggling offense.
What does this do for the Cavs? After being hit by a slew of injuries to start the season and stumbling out of the gates, the Cavs fired Ty Lue and began their youth movement in earnest, and handed the reins over to Collin Sexton, and are now looking for the complementary pieces to fill in the blanks.
Though Alec Burks feels like he's been in the league forever, he's still just 27 years old, and the Cavs have plenty of wing minutes to fill. At his best, Burks was a 14ppg-4rpg-3apg starter for the Jazz as a 23-year-old, a big reason why they lavished him with a four year, $42 million deal that expires at the end of this year. After a shoulder injury cut short his 2015 season, and an ankle injury took parts of 2016 and 2017, he found himself behind Donovan Mitchell in the pecking order in Utah, and an expendable piece of their puzzle.
In his limited minutes this year, though, Burks has shown flashes of a return to his previous self. His per-36 minutes show the best scoring numbers of his career, and his three-point stroke looks to be back as well, hitting 37% of his nearly six attempts per game. Playing for his next contract, Burks has all the motivation he needs to bring his best effort and dedication to the Cavs this season.
Should he not pan out, or end up back on the shelf due to injury, the $11.5 million that will come off the books at the end of this year can still be put to use on the trade market for a team that will pay the Cavs in draft picks to rent that space by pawning off a player with more years owed down the line. And we haven't even mentioned the two second-round picks the Cavs netted in this deal yet!
At the end of the day, Korver was never going to finish his season in the Wine and Gold; he was too valuable to a contender to ply his trade for a rebuilding Cavs team. With rumors swirling that he might be a key piece of a Markelle Fultz deal, some Cavs fans may be disappointed that this was the return for Korver -- but that's all conjecture. They have at least two picks to show for their efforts, a potentially interesting player in Burks, and a situation where all is not yet said and done. There are more moves to come in Cleveland's future.