SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 19: Alec Burks #10 of the Utah Jazz is introduced during a game against the Golden State Warriors on October 19, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Jazz players say goodbye to Alec Burks

by Aaron Falk

Alec Burks wasn’t much for post-game interviews. When reporters filled the locker room, the shooting guard preferred to slip between them, the way he might split defenders on his way to the rim, and make a silent escape.

But after news of Burks’ trade broke this week, his teammates wouldn’t let their appreciation go unspoken.

Burks was drafted by the Jazz with the 12th-overall pick in 2011. “I was 19 when I came here,” Burks said recently. “I became a man here. They made me mature, as a man and a father.” Many of Burks’ teammates grew up here with him.

Burks averaged 9.6 points and 2.9 rebounds over his 382 games with Utah. And though his time with the Jazz was hampered by a series of major injuries—setbacks he said made him a smarter player, and more appreciative of his opportunity to play the game—there was always a chance of magic from the man Jazz broadcaster Craig Bolerjack lovingly called Houdini.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will play at Vivint Smart Home Arena on January 18, and you can bet Burks’ former teammates will be glad to see him.