Warriors: Alec Burks must remain a long-term role player

Warriors (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Warriors (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The past few seasons have seen the Golden State Warriors struggle to find a capable scorer off the bench. This is just one of the reasons it would behoove them to keep veteran Alec Burks around for the long haul.

The last few months have been an interesting journey for Golden State Warriors wing Alec Burks.

After spending the first seven-plus seasons with the Utah Jazz, Burks was traded twice in a span of three months. After being dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers in November, he was shipped back to the West Coast, this time to the Sacramento Kings.

In the offseason, Burks initially agreed to sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, looking to bolster the Thunder bench and provide some veteran help for superstars Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

Then, of course, all hell broke loose.

As the NBA held their collective breath awaiting the free agency decision of Kawhi Leonard, the reigning Finals MVP shocked many by spurning the talent-laden Los Angeles Lakers for the rival Los Angeles Clippers.

That wasn’t the only surprise Leonard had in his bag, however, as it was soon announced he wouldn’t be coming alone.

A year after spurning the Lakers himself to re-up in OKC, George was on his way back to Southern California to become Leonard’s new running mate after requesting a trade to the Clippers.

Westbrook soon followed him out the door — traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and several future draft picks.

Needless to say, this was not the situation Burks envisioned after signing with the Thunder. With the team no longer a contender, Thunder general manager Sam Presti allowed Burks to rethink his decision.

Burks backed out, eventually signing with the Warriors. In hindsight, it may seem that Burks made the wrong move, seeing as the Warriors are sitting dead-last and the Thunder are fighting for the eighth seed, but his decision may prove to be the best one for his long-term future.

While he has been the subject of trade rumors, Burks told Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle that he would love to remain in the Bay Area.

After missing an average of 36 games the past five seasons, Burks has missed only three thus far in this young campaign. When healthy, Burks is a proven NBA scorer and has also flashed as a playmaker this season.

It will all come down to Burks’ offseason priorities. If he’s looking for money, he likely won’t find it in Golden State. If he’s looking for a chance to contribute to a team hungry to prove it’s dynasty isn’t dead, he shouldn’t have to look very far.

While D’Angelo Russell‘s future as a Warrior remains uncertain, a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson returning to the lineup and adding — likely — a high lottery pick will go a long way toward bringing the Warriors back to respectability.

Being forced to play heavy minutes this season has hastened the development of young players like Eric Paschall, Ky Bowman, and Omari Spellman, and it’s not hard to see Burks forming a solid second unit with them.

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If the Warriors young players continue to progress throughout the season and begin looking like solid rotation pieces for the foreseeable future, it might just be enough to sway Alec Burks into taking less money to stay put.