Pros and cons of reuniting with former Knicks guard in trade

Will the Knicks do it?
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Things tend to come full circle. After trading Alec Burks to the Pistons in the 2022 offseason to clear cap space for the Jalen Brunson signing, the Knicks are interested in bringing the 32-year-old back to New York (per HoopsHype).

The Athletic's James L. Edwards III reported on Jan. 25 that while the Pistons aren't entirely against losing Burks, they aren't actively shopping him (subscription required) or Bojan Bogdanovic.

"As for Burks, the Pistons believe they have a chance to retain the bucket-getting veteran this summer. But I get the sense that two really good second-round picks, at minimum, would cause Detroit to consider a move before the deadline."

James L. Edwards III, The Athletic

Burks will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He's averaging 12.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game, shooting 39.1% from the field and 40.2% from the field. Rather than remain on a lowly Pistons squad, there's a chance he could reunite with the Knicks if the price is right for Detroit. Is he a player New York should seriously pursue?

Pros of a New York Knicks-Alec Burks trade

The biggest pro is that Burks is very familiar with Tom Thibodeau's system, so the transition wouldn't be difficult. Not only is he a good veteran voice in the locker room, but he can also give the Knicks a scoring punch off the bench. He can also create his own shot, making him more desirable.

The price New York would have to pay isn't high either, as it could be as little as two second-round picks. When you compare that cost to someone like Bruce Brown, another player the Knicks are interested in, Burks would be a much cheaper option.

New York wouldn't have to worry about gambling on a Burks trade, as they know exactly what kind of player he is and how he'd fit with the team. The biggest issue would be his future.

Cons of a New York Knicks-Alec Burks trade

As noted, Burks will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, which would complicate the Knicks' star pursuit. As SNY's Ian Begley noted, New York couldn't throw Burks into a package if needed unless he signed an extension. Even then, there'd be complications.

"In this scenario, New York would have the option to sign Burks to a two-year extension after trading for him.

Doing so would allow them to include his salary in a trade. But they would have to wait until six months after the date of the extension to move him."

Ian Begley, SNY

That's the biggest and only issue with a Burks trade. The Athletic's Fred Katz reported that the Knicks are looking for players with "specific contracts" (subscription required) to flip for a star if the right one becomes available in the offseason. If New York signed Burks to an extension, he wouldn't be available to be traded until late July/early August.

Depending on what the Knicks do with Evan Fournier, the team will need a valuable trade chip. Right now, that player is Fournier, but he has a team option for 2024-25 that Katz reported New York is reluctant to pick up.

Trading for Burks would be a typical Knicks move, but that isn't a bad thing. He's a familiar face who can still contribute to winning basketball, even though to no fault of his own, he's on the worst team in the league (and in the history of the NBA). At the very least, he could step in and help New York make what the organization hopes will be a deep playoff run.