Guards Alec Burks and Iman Shumpert have been traded again.
The Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers are in the process of completing a three-team deal that will send Shumpert to Houston, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Per Wojnarowski, Cleveland will send Burks to Sacramento, and the Rockets will send the Cavs Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss and a protected first-round pick.
Wojnarowski noted there was more to the trade:
It is the second time Burks has been traded this season, as the Cavaliers acquired him from the Utah Jazz in November as part of the package that sent Kyle Korver to the Western Conference. It also marks the second consecutive season in which Shumpert has been moved in a three-team deadline deal.
Cleveland apparently wasn't interested in keeping Burks around for long, though, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported in December he could be on the move for the rebuilding franchise. Jason Lloyd of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the Cavaliers were discussing a potential trade involving Burks with the Rockets.
The Cavaliers' ability to land a protected first-round draft pick in this move stands out given the franchise's focus on the future at 11-43 this season. They are essentially playing for nothing but draft positioning for the remainder of the campaign.
Attention now turns to whether Burks can fulfill his potential on the third team of his career after the Jazz selected him with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
He has experienced issues staying on the court and played just 27 games in 2014-15, 31 games in 2015-16 and 42 games in 2016-17. The 64 he played in 2017-18 would be a red flag for some players, but it was a welcome sign of durability for him.
Burks has flashed signs of being a capable wing scorer when healthy and poured in a career-best 14.0 points a night in 2013-14 when he appeared in 78 games. The effort kick-started a run of three straight seasons of double-digit scoring totals, and he has averaged 10.6 points per game this season for the Jazz and Cavaliers.
The Colorado product is a solid three-point shooter who can take advantage of openings created when the point guard draws additional defenders with penetration, or he can shoot over small defenders as a 6'6" matchup problem.
Sacramento will need that offense because he has struggled on the defensive end at times. Opponents shot 6.3 percent better from the field and 6.6 percent better from three-point range than their normal averages when he defended them last season as a member of the Jazz, per NBA.com.
Burks is on an expiring contract and set for unrestricted free agency following the 2018-19 campaign. This trade gives the Kings the opportunity to see what he can do during the stretch run and potentially the playoffs before deciding to either attempt to bring him back or move on without having to worry about his deal tying up the books for seasons to come.
As for Shumpert, Houston gets a veteran presence who has 71 playoff games on his resume and an NBA championship. The Rockets are looking to make a deep postseason run after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season, and Shumpert will be comfortable on that stage come April and May.