Celtics Trade Candidate Identified as ‘The Spark Plug This Roster Needs’

Alec Burks floated as Celtics trade target

Getty Alec Burks #18 of the New York Knicks in action against the Washington Wizards.

We’re approaching All-Star weekend, which means two things – a star-studded game compiled of absolutely no defense is nearing, and trade chatter is approaching its highest peak. The Boston Celtics, perceived as one of the biggest players in this year’s trade market due to their record-setting $28.5 million traded player exception, got hit with their first big news of the trade season on Thursday.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that the Celtics have interest in both Magic big man Nikola Vucevic and Pistons forward Jerami Grant, the odds-on-favorite to win this year’s NBA’s Most Improved Player award. However, it’s important to remember that just because a team may have interest in a specific player, doesn’t mean the other team will be willing to move off the said player at a reasonable price. In reality, when push comes to shove, Boston’s realistic trade candidates may look a whole of a lot different and far less flashy. Although that’s not to say they wouldn’t prove to be an intricate part of the team’s success moving forward.

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Knicks Wing Headlines C’s ‘Updated Trade Target’ List

To further emphasize the point made above, Bleacher Report’s updated compilation of trade targets for the Celtics lacks Grant entirely. However, it does offer a handful of intriguing bench scorers and shot creators, including Knicks forward Alec Burks, whom columnist Zach Buckley believes could be the “spark plug” Boston needs to help make a legitimate title push in the Eastern Conference.

Alec Burks could be the spark plug this roster needs. He’s averaging double figures for the second consecutive campaign (11.2) and doing his best work to date from downtown (1.9 threes per game, 40.4 three-point percentage).

Buckley’s biggest draw to Burks is Boston’s current lack of scoring punch coming off the bench. As he notes, five Celtics players average more than 8.0 points per game this season. Yet, all five are essentially full-time starters. Daniel Theis is the only player among the five that hasn’t exclusively operated in the team’s starting lineup this year. With that said, he’s started in all but five of his 33 game appearances. Furthermore, Boston’s reserve unit as a whole, averages just 32.0 ppg, the fourth-fewest in all of basketball.

Burks’ Overview as a Celtics Trade Target

Burks, who has topped 15 points in two of his last three games, including a season-high 24 points in a victory over the Kings last Thursday, won’t just be handed to the Celtics. With that said, he’d be had for far less capital than the majority of players continuously linked to Boston.

An impending unrestricted free agent following this season, Burks has manned a consistent role in the Knicks lineup thus far (24.9 minutes per game) in 2020-21. With that said, New York’s youth movement headlined by Immanuel Quickley, as well as the impending return of Elfrid Payton, may open the door for a swift and fair-priced exit from New York for Burks.

Other players floated on B/R’s updated trade target list was the aforementioned Nikola Vucevic (surprise!) and Grizzlies’ versatile forward Kyle Anderson. The latter received some run earlier this year as a potential favorite to land in Boston, although hype surrounding the prospect has since died down. The former Spurs draft pick is averaging career-highs in points (13.6), rebounds (6.2), assists (3.6) and 3-point percentage (39.0%).

Anderson’s skillset would fall in line with the belief that the Celtics are in search of an interchangeable forward who can man a similar role to what Gordon Hayward once manned in Boston.


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