The Utah Jazz traded for Kyle Korver about a year ago to aide their playoff run of 2019. Looking back, how did this trade turn out for both teams?
The Utah Jazz are not setting the league on fire by any means. Their 12-9 start is good enough for sixth in the Western Conference, but for a team that acquired big pieces in the summertime, that will not do.
The team looked awful for stretches of their recent five game road trip, getting blown out by the Indiana Pacers sans Victor Oladipo, as well as the Toronto Raptors with no Kyle Lowry. Their only win of the week came against a hapless Memphis Grizzlies squad, and even that required digging themselves out of a hole they dug in the first half.
The date of December 15th is rapidly approaching, and that means the trade market will be open again for all of the NBA. Some people believe the Jazz’s woes will fix themselves with more patience, less travel, and easier opponents. But there are others that believe the Jazz need to make a few deals to reach the illustrious heights talked about in the offseason.
Having said that, let’s revisit some midseason trades the Jazz have completed in years past, starting with the Kyle Korver trade of 2018-19. Utah was struggling out of the gates, going 10-12 through the first 22 games which included a 50 point loss to the lottery-bound Dallas Mavericks . Although the December 15th date had not come yet, Dennis Lindsey decided to make a move.
Kyle Korver, known well for his three point marksmanship and playoff experience, was brought back to the Wasatch Front. The Cavaliers were able to send a trade exception with Korver off to a playoff team and proceed with their rebuild adding a couple second round picks and a younger player in Alec Burks.
The Jazz went on to win 50 games and earn the fifth playoff seed in the Western Conference. They were confident going into the first round against the Houston Rockets, riding off a stellar second half of the season from Donovan Mitchell where he averaged 26.9 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.6 rebounds on 45 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent from the three. This time around they would have a healthy Ricky Rubio available for the series, and that should have made a difference along with the increased playoff experience on the roster.
The Jazz’s few offensive weapons ended up going ice cold in the playoff series. Korver was barely able to get on the court, averaging seven minutes in the series as opposed to 20 in the regular season. He couldn’t help Utah make shots in that series, only shooting 33 percent from downtown.
The next month, Dennis Lindsey and newly promoted general manager Justin Zanik included Korver in a package to bring Mike Conley to the Beehive State. Korver was only included to match salaries, so Mike Conley’s success in Utah has a limited impact on making the Korver trade look good for the Jazz.
As for Cleveland’s side of the deal, Alec Burks played in every game, averaging 28.8 minutes per contest as a starter for the Cavs. Unfortunately, that 34 game stretch also included a 12 game losing streak. He was traded at the February deadline to the Sacramento Kings.
The Cavs acquired a couple future picks (one which turned into Dylan Windler), as well as Marquese Chriss, Brandon Knight, and multiple trade exceptions. Chriss did not impress in his 29 games as a Cavalier, and was not brought back by the team for this season. As for Knight, he started 26 games for Cleveland in the home stretch of the 2018-19 season, but has struggled getting on the court this season.
The two second round picks Utah sent with Burks are now gone too. Cleveland used one of them (Utah’s 2020 second round pick) to acquire Kevin Porter Jr. on draft night. The other pick (leftover from the Jazz trading away Trey Burke) was was used to acquire John Henson and reacquire Matthew Dellavadova, although most of that is accredited to George Hill being included in the package.
Over the next few years it will be interesting to see what comes from the draft picks Cleveland acquired from the Alec Burks package last February.
Back in the day, Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor received a dump of picks and bench players similar to the one Cleveland received. One of those sweeteners (originally belonging to New York) became a ninth overall lottery pick, and was used to draft Gordon Hayward. Similar to the Alec Burks/Kyle Korver deal, there wasn’t a clear winner of the trade at the time (2004). But fast forward 15 years, and the Jazz became the clear-cut winners of that deal.
If Dylan Windler, Kevin Porter Jr., or the Houston Rockets’ 2022 second round pick end up becoming steals for their draft spot, then this would be another one of those cases.
All in all, Kyle Korver contributed 2.0 win shares to the Jazz, and Alec Burks contributed 0.9 win shares for the Cleveland Cavaliers. As of right now, it appears neither team really won this trade, which is okay. This was designed to be a low-risk, low-reward trade from the get-go, and is turning out to be exactly that.
*All stats are a courtesy of basketball-reference.com