Alec Burks

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Oladipo, Gobert, Burks

ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy believes the Thunder should seriously consider playing Russell Westbrook the entire game during the postseason, as he told Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman. The Thunder outscored the Rockets in Game 2 by 11 points in the 41 minutes that Westbrook played. Westbrook’s 51-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist effort was wasted in a 115-111 loss that gave Houston a 2-0 series lead. Oklahoma City is better off with Westbrook staying on the court even if he wears down as the game goes on, Van Gundy told Bracht. “I think he gives them a better chance even if he is diminished somewhat due to fatigue by playing the whole game,” Van Gundy said. “Maybe it will be different at home, but the dropoff is huge.”

In other playoff developments around the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder coach Billy Donovan doesn’t want Victor Oladipo‘s shooting woes to affect his overall game, the Associated Press reports. The shooting guard is averaging 8.5 PPG and shooting 19% from the field through the first two playoff games. Donovan wants Oladipo to realize his defense and rebounding are also important. “Victor’s not a one-dimensional player — he can do a lot of different things,” Donovan said. “Taking his mindset off the ball going in the basket, and him realizing, ‘I’m not going to allow myself to be defined by that because there’s too many other things I can do out there to help this team.'”
  • Forward Doug McDermott was a bright spot for the Thunder in Game 2, as he scored 11 points in 14 minutes. “I knew I could have an impact on this series,” McDermott told Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. “I know my shot’s always gonna be there, and they have to respect that.”
  • Jazz center Rudy Gobert will remain sidelined for Game 3 of the series against the Clippers, according to another AP story. He hyperextended his left knee and suffered a bone contusion in the opening minute of the series. The Jazz were outscored 60-38 in the paint in Game 2 while going with a smaller lineup most of the way.
  • The Jazz will also be without shooting guard Alec Burks for Game 3, the team’s PR department tweets. Burks received a platelet-rich plasma injection into his left knee on Thursday. Burks, who averaged 6.7 PPG in 15.5 MPG over 42 games during the regular season, has not appeared in the series.

Northwest Notes: Timberwolves, Kanter, Burks

The Timberwolves remain on the lookout for a big man, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). That’s not a new revelation — a report in mid-December suggested that Minnesota was interested in adding some frontcourt help to its roster. Still, at that time, the trade deadline was more than two months away. February 23 is inching closer, so if the Wolves do indeed intend to address their frontcourt rotation via the trade market, they’ll have to do so within the next few weeks.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

  • After breaking his forearm last week when he punched a chair, Enes Kanter told reporters this weekend that he apologized to his Thunder teammates for his mistake, writes Royce Young of ESPN.com. “Of course it’s like a really sad thing because like, I mean because you’re letting your teammates down when you make a mistake like that,” Kanter said. “I mean you’re [letting] coaches down and stuff. But the only thing you can do is just, you know, you learn from it. The one thing you know I wish we could go back [in] time and then I could take it back.”
  • As Erik Horne of The Oklahoman details, player injuries could play a not-insignificant part in determining what kind of deals happen before the deadline. In the case of the Thunder, Cameron Payne missed several months earlier this season after having been mentioned in trade rumors, and Kanter will now be sidelined through February despite being a possible trade candidate.
  • The Jazz have a handful of potential backup point guards available now that the roster is healthy, but it has been Alec Burks who has received a chance to fill that role a couple times lately, says Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News. Unlike Burks, who has a longer-term deal, Utah’s other four point guards are all eligible for free agency in 2017 or 2018.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/12/17

  • The Jazz recalled guards Alec Burks and Raul Neto from the Salt Lake City Stars and assigned forward Joel Bolomboy to the same team, the team announced in a press release. The guard duo was assigned there on Wednesday to get some playing time against the Grand Rapids Drive and Neto finished one rebound shy of a triple-double. This marks the 10th assignment for Bolomboy.
  • The Knicks recalled forward Maurice Ndour and center Marshall Plumlee from their affiliate, the Westchester Knicks, the team’s PR staff tweets. That duo combined for 24 points and 20 rebounds against the Maine Red Claws after being assigned on Tuesday.
  • The Nets recalled forward Chris McCullough from their Long Island affiliate and he was available against the Pelicans on Thursday night, the team tweets. McCullough poured in 37 points in Long Island’s 138-133 overtime win over the Greensboro Swarm earlier in the day, his 22nd appearance with the D-League club.
  • The Pelicans recalled forward Cheick Diallo, who was also playing for the Long Island Nets, the team’s PR department tweets. He played two games there, averaging 12.0 points in 17.4 minutes after going there on Tuesday under the flexible assignment rule.
  • The Thunder assigned guard Semaj Christon to the Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced in a tweet. Christon has appeared in 36 games with the Thunder this season, averaging 3.2 points and 1.4 assists in 15.4 minutes.
  • The Trail Blazers assigned guard Tim Quarterman to the Windy City Bulls under the flex rule, they announced in a press release. The rookie has made 12 brief appearances with the Blazers this season.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/11/17

Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

10:20pm:

  • The Jazz have assigned Alec Burks and Raul Neto to their D-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the team’s website. Both players were in action for tonight’s contest against the Grand Rapids Drive.
  • The Blazers have assigned Tim Quarterman to the D-League, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets. Portland does not have its own affiliate, so Quarterman will play for the Windy City Bulls on this assignment.

1:41 pm

  • The Raptors recalled rookie guard Fred VanVleet from their D-League affiliate following the team’s Tuesday night victory (Twitter link). VanVleet posted a double-double for the Raptors 905 on Tuesday, with 12 points, 11 assists, and four steals.
  • The Nets have re-assigned Chris McCullough to the D-League, the club announced today in a press release. The second-year power forward has played sparingly this season for Brooklyn, but has appeared in 21 games for the Long Island Nets, averaging 18.8 PPG and 8.4 RPG.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/9/17

Here are Monday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

7:55pm:

  • After assigning them to the D-League earlier today to practice with the Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz have recalled Alec Burks, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto, the team announced in a press release. None of the three Utah players have seen much playing time recently, so the brief NBADL assignment allowed them to get some practice reps in.
  • The Spurs have recalled Dejounte Murray from the D-League, a day after he picked up 31 points and 12 boards for Austin, San Antonio’s affiliate. The club announced the transaction in a press release.

1:17pm:

  • The Jazz have assigned Alec Burks, Dante Exum, and Raul Neto to the D-League, according to a press release issued today by the team. It sounds like the trio will participate in practice with the Salt Lake City Stars, but won’t be on assignment for long. Meanwhile, Utah has also recalled Joel Bolomboy from the D-League.
  • The Raptors have assigned Delon Wright to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). That’s positive news for the 2015 first-round pick, who is recovering from a major shoulder injury. However, Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic notes (via Twitter) that Wright hasn’t yet been cleared for full practice, so he’s not close to seeing the court in Toronto yet.
  • NBADL regulars Bruno Caboclo and Fred VanVleet will join Wright on assignment, having also been sent to the D-League by the Raptors, per the team (Twitter link).
  • The Celtics have recalled rookie guard Demetrius Jackson from the Maine Red Claws, according to the team (Twitter link). On his one-day D-League assignment, Jackson scored 26 points to help lead Boston’s affiliate to a Sunday victory over Fort Wayne.
  • The Suns have sent Derrick Jones back to the D-League, the club announced today (via Twitter). Jones, who has barely seen the floor for Phoenix, has averaged 14.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG in 15 NBADL games this season.

Alec Burks Expected To Return On Monday

Jazz shooting guard Alec Burks is expected to make his 2016/17 debut on Monday night when Utah faces the Nets in Brooklyn, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). According to Jones, Burks will be on a minutes restriction upon returning to Utah’s lineup.

The 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Burks is in his sixth year with the Jazz, though his career has been plagued by injuries so far. Outside of a career year in 2013/14, when he averaged 14.0 PPG in 78 games, Burks has never played more than 64 games in a season, and has been limited to just 58 since signing a contract extension in October 2014.

Having missed most of the 2015/16 campaign with ankle and leg injuries, Burks was ruled out indefinitely at the start of 2016/17 after he underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left ankle.

With Burks set to return, it will be interesting to see how he fits into a Jazz rotation that features Rodney Hood and offseason signee Joe Johnson. With Dante Exum and George Hill sidelined, there should be enough minutes to go around in the backcourt for now, but if and when everyone gets healthy, there may be a bit of a logjam.

Burks is one of just two players on the Jazz – along with Rudy Gobert – who is on a guaranteed contract through at least the 2018/19 season, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s safe for the long term in Utah. Last month, ESPN’s Zach Lowe identified Burks as a possible trade candidate, noting that Utah has plenty of key players up for new deals soon, and probably can’t afford to keep everyone.

Northwest Notes: Hill, Burks, Oladipo, Wolves

George Hill, who has been sidelined with a toe injury, could return as soon as Thursday against the Sixers, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (ESPN Now link). The Jazz traded for Hill during the offseason, but the point guard has only been able to play in 11 contests due to injuries.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Alec Burks is making strides toward getting back on the court and the Jazz are excited to have the shooting guard back at practice, Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune writes. This week was the first time Burks practiced since breaking his ankle last season.
  • Victor Oladipo remains out of the lineup, but the Thunder are viewing his absence as an opportunity to evaluate the team’s depth, as Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman passes along. “We’ve found maybe different things that we can do that maybe we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore, to experiment with,” coach Billy Donovan said. “Hopefully when he gets back, his absence has made us better and helped our team grow in a way that we can continue to move in a positive direction.”
  • Jordan Hill hasn’t played much since joining the Wolves, but he remains optimistic about his role in the organization and the team’s future, as Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes. “In a couple years, man, I feel this team will definitely be a surprise,” Hill said.
  • Coach Tom Thibodeau is having trouble finding minutes for Brandon Rush, whom the Wolves signed in the offseason, Youngblood relays in the same piece. “It’s tough to play 10 guys,” Thibodeau said. “We’re settled in a rotation right now. But that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. He’s a good pro, works hard every day.”

Jazz Rumors: Favors, Hayward, Hill, Burks

Jazz big man Derrick Favors will return to the court on Wednesday after missing the last 12 games of action due to a left knee injury, league sources told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. Although Favors won’t get a ton of playing time, the Jazz will get another chance to see him play alongside Rudy Gobert, something head coach Quin Snyder wants to see more of.

As Zach Lowe of ESPN.com details, the Jazz face several important decisions on players who are eligible for extensions or will soon reach free agency, so it’s crucial that the team gets as much information as possible about how those players fit together. If possible, the team would also like to see how certain lineups – like ones featuring Favors and Gobert – fare in a playoff series.

“The answer to whether Derrick and Rudy can play together is unequivocally yes,” Snyder said. “The bigger question is in what situations, and how best to maximize every player. On some level, you don’t know. We might find challenges that are hidden to us now.”

Here’s more on the Jazz from Lowe:

  • The new CBA is expected to help Utah when it comes to re-signing Gordon Hayward, since the new deal should widen the advantage incumbent teams get (in terms of money and years) for re-signing their own players, says Lowe. Still, the Jazz need to show progress this year to convince Hayward they’re capable of developing into a serious contender. Hayward on his looming free agency: “It comes down to where I can compete for a title. Where I live — that doesn’t affect me. The limelight doesn’t matter to me. I just want to make a run at it.”
  • Lowe suggests that “almost everyone with max-level cap room” will at least check in with Hayward’s agent next summer. Lowe adds that the Clippers explored a sign-and-trade for Hayward in 2014, and that Doc Rivers “loves” him, though L.A. won’t have a clear path to max space in 2017.
  • The Jazz can extend George Hill now, and doing so would help improve the team’s odds of retaining Hayward, since the two players are close. Still, while Hill is open to listening to any offer from the Jazz, he may wait out Hayward’s decision, Lowe writes.
  • The Jazz are hoping to get Alec Burks back in January and see their whole team in action well before the trade deadline, sources tell Lowe. The ESPN scribe identifies Burks as a potential trade candidate, since Utah can’t afford to keep everyone.

Alec Burks Out Indefinitely After Surgery

Jazz guard Alec Burks underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure earlier today to debride his left ankle, the team announced. The player will return to Salt Lake City to begin his rehabilitation and will remain out of action indefinitely, per the release. Utah will provide further updates when new information is known.

This is the same ankle that he underwent surgery on back in June. He was expected to be ready for the start of training camp, but didn’t play during the preseason nor in the team’s first three regular season contests. The 25-year-old averaged 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in just 31 appearances last season.

Burks, who still has three years and approximately $32.53MM remaining on the extension he inked in 2014, has struggled with injuries during his brief NBA career, also missing 55 games in 2014/15 due to shoulder woes.

Central Notes: Lamb, Love, Marjanovic, Leuer

There have been “whispers” that the Bucks are discussing a deal that would send Greg Monroe to the Hornets in exchange for Jeremy Lamb and Spencer Hawes, according to Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box. Milwaukee needs help on the wing with Khris Middleton likely out for the season with a ruptured left hamstring. The Bucks have reportedly been looking for a taker for Monroe all summer, and it appears Charlotte may be interested. Lamb, a 24-year-old swingman, is beginning his second season with the Hornets after averaging 8.8 points per night in 66 games as a reserve a year ago. Lamb is entering the first year of a three-year, $21MM extension he agreed to last November, and he may be expendable after Charlotte added Marco Belinelli over the summer. Woelfel lists Gary Harris, Ben McLemore, Alec Burks, Terrence Ross and Nick Young as other wings the Bucks may target.

There’s more news out of the Central Division:

  • Kevin Love has learned to block out the criticism and trade rumors that have followed him since he joined the Cavaliers two years ago, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Love believes he proved his worth to the team during the championship run and he isn’t concerned with what outsiders think of his performance. He is also secure enough with his place in the organization that trade speculation doesn’t concern him. “Trade rumors, you know, I don’t know,” Love said. “You lose a couple games … No, I don’t know how to answer that. No. I’m here, man. I plan on being here a very long time.”
  • Boban Marjanovic may still be considered a project, but Pistons coach/executive Stan Van Gundy believes the 7’3″ center is “unstoppable” in the low post, relays Aaron McMann of MLive. Detroit is happy with the early returns on the $21MM it gave Marjanovic over the next three seasons. The 290-pounder remains the third-string center on the Pistons’ depth chart, but it sounds like he will be given playing time. “Once he gets established in the half-court, there’s not a good way to play him,” Van Gundy said. “There’s just not. He’s so big and he’s so skilled, that it’s hard.”
  • Another new Piston who has impressed Van Gundy is Jon Leuer, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. And it’s not surprising, as Van Gundy has tried to acquire the 27-year-old power forward before. “Since he came into the league in Milwaukee [in 2011] and I was coaching in Orlando, there have been three or four times over the years wherever I was, where we were making efforts to try to get him,” Van Gundy said. Leuer signed a four-year, $41MM deal with Detroit in July.
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