The Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz should swap two of their under-utilized wings. That was the suggestion from The Ringer this morning as they kicked off the month of December with a slate of NBA Trade proposals. Staff writer Jonathan Tjarks has Portland small forward Maurice Harkless heading to Utah in exchange for reserve shooting guard Alec Burks.
A good old-fashioned challenge trade for two guys who could use fresh starts. Harkless has been benched in Portland, and he may fall out of the rotation entirely now that Al-Farouq Aminu has returned. Utah has been running a patchwork rotation at the small-ball 4 position with Joe Johnson out, and Harkless is worth a shot as a long-term answer there. Burks has never been able to live up to his potential in Utah, and he’s third in the pecking order at shooting guard behind Donovan Mitchell and Rodney Hood. He could give Portland a legitimate scoring weapon off their bench and remind the rest of the league of what he’s capable of as a sixth man.
The 24-year-old Harkless currently averages 5.5 points per game in Portland off of 41% shooting, 24% from the three-point arc. He started 18 games for the Blazers this season but has been replaced in the lineup by Pat Connaughton. He’s earning $10.2 million this year in a deal that runs through 2019-20.
Burks, age 26, averages 8.2 points per game on 40.5% shooting, 42% from the arc. He’s earning $10.8 million on a contract that runs through 2018-19.
Would Harkless for Burks pique your interest? Do you see Utah doing it?