Sacramento Kings: Grading the Iman Shumpert-Alec Burks trade

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images /

The Sacramento Kings included Iman Shumpert in a three-team deal that netted them Alec Burks. Let’s slap this last-second move ahead of the 2019 NBA trade deadline with a grade.

We all knew the Sacramento Kings were looking to make a move before Thursday’s 2019 NBA trade deadline. However, I don’t think many people were expecting the move they made on Wednesday, sending Iman Shumpert packing and getting Alec Burks in return.

Honestly, it’s a bit of a puzzling move. The Kings jumped into a three-team deal with the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers, sending Shumpert to the former while receiving Burks from the latter. It wasn’t the impact trade fans were hoping for, and may actually leave the Kings in a worse position when all is said and done.

The general assumption was the Kings were looking to make a significant upgrade ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. The expected target was an impact small forward who could improve on the duo of Justin Jackson and Shumpert. Instead, they sent Shumpert packing and brought in a decent (albeit flawed) wing.

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Sure, Burks is better shooter than Shumpert. That’s great. However, it’s not like the Kings really need a huge boost in the shooting department. With De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic effortlessly providing much of Sacramento’s scoring, adding a decent outside threat wasn’t exactly a necessity.

Even then, Burks isn’t what you’d call a sharpshooter. He owns a career 3-point percentage of 35.8, although he is shooting 37.8 percent from long-range this season.

The No. 12 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, Burks never really lived up to the hype with the Utah Jazz before being dealt to Cleveland earlier this season as part of the Kyle Korver deal. The Cavaliers weren’t that interested in keeping him around either, sending him packing after failing to see much from him as a part-time starter.

To make matters worse, the Kings lose a quality defensive presence in Shumpert and replace him with an inferior defensive talent in Burks. The latter has never been an impact defender, averaging only 0.6 steals and 0.2 blocks per game during his eight-year NBA career. His career defensive box plus/minus of -0.8 provides further evidence of this.

Then again, maybe Burks isn’t done moving? He’s already been traded twice this season, and could be headed elsewhere if this was was a preemptive measure by Sacramento.

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The Kings were expected to land that final piece to get them into the postseason ahead of the trade deadline. If this was that move, Vlade Divac missed the mark by a mile. Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Sacramento, but swapping Shumpert for Burks isn’t going to be enough to boost them into the playoffs.

Editor’s note: Shortly after this article was published, the Kings acquired Harrison Barnes for Jackson and Zach Randolph.

Final Grade: C-