A key player in the Cavaliers’ last two NBA Finals runs became the first to be traded Wednesday night when highly respected guard Kyle Korver was sent to the Utah Jazz for guard Alec Burks and two draft choices.
A league source said along with Burks, 27, the Cavs will receive Utah’s second-round pick in 2020 and Washington’s second-rounder in 2021. Burks is in the final year of his contract that will pay him $11.5 million this season.
Korver, 37, had reportedly been promised he would be dealt if LeBron James departed in free agency. James left for the Los Angeles Lakers in July, but the Cavs took their time shopping one of the most highly sought players on the trade market at this point in the season. The most widely circulated rumor had the Philadelphia 76ers interested in Korver.
According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Korver learned of the trade when he arrived at Chesapeake Energy Arena, where the Cavs faced the Thunder.
Korver arrived in Cleveland in a Jan. 7, 2017, trade with the Atlanta Hawks and signed a multi-year contract with the Cavs that July. He had never been to the NBA Finals before joining the Cavs.
During his time in Cleveland, Korver experienced highs and lows. At media day in September, Korver admitted he considered retirement in the offseason after his brother Kirk, 27, died unexpectedly March 20.
“I took a good chunk of time and got away from the game and evaluated a lot of things and tried to decide if I still had the desire to play,” Korver said in September. “After doing all that, I felt like I wanted to come back, I still wanted to play. I still love the game. I’m excited to be back. ... I didn’t want to just come here and be around. I want to work and play well and make shots and win games.”
When coach Tyronn Lue was fired after an 0-6 start and five-time All-Star Kevin Love underwent left foot surgery, Korver initially seemed to struggle with the Cavs being forced to rebuild. The Jazz have made the playoffs the past two seasons, reaching the Western Conference semifinals.
In 16 games for the Cavs this season, Korver averaged 6.8 points and shot .461 from the field and .463 from long range.
In the deal with the Hawks for Korver, the Cavs gave up a first-round pick that’s top-10 protected in 2019 and ’20. If it doesn’t fall between 11-30 in either of those years, which seems unlikely, it becomes two second-rounders, according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. That’s where the draft choices the Cavs received for Korver on Wednesday factor in.
Burks will also have trade value as an expiring contract. Burks, 6-foot-6 and 214 pounds, was the 12th overall pick of the Jazz in 2011 out of Colorado. In 17 games this season, Burks has averaged 8.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists, shooting .412 from the field and .372 on 3-pointers. He has started 43 of 382 career games.
Ranking fourth all-time on the NBA list for 3-pointers made with 2,238, Korver joins the Jazz for the second time in a 16-year career that also includes stops in Philadelphia and Chicago. The 76ers sent him to the Jazz in December 2007 and he played there through the 2009-10 season.
Thunder 100, Cavs 83
Russell Westbrook moved into a tie for third place on the NBA list for triple-doubles with 23 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder completed a regular-season sweep of the short-handed Cavaliers with a 100-83 victory Wednesday night.
Westbrook's triple-double was his third this season — all in the last four games — and the 107th of his career, matching Jason Kidd and trailing only Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138). Kidd took 1,247 games to reach 107, while Westbrook needed only 760.
The 19 rebounds were one off Westbrook's career high, set in last season's finale against Memphis.
Jordan Clarkson led the visiting Cavs with 25 points, and Collin Sexton (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Cedi Osman (14 points, 10 rebounds) each had a double-double.
— Associated Press
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.