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Rumor: Celtics interested in Knicks’ Alec Burks

With New York trying to open up cap space, Boston could be a beneficiary.

Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Celtics and Knicks have a long history, but of late, their rivalry has played out more on the cap sheet rather than MSG or TD Garden.

Last season, Boston lost Evan Fournier to New York in free agency. Then, after dealing Kemba Walker to Oklahoma City for Al Horford, Walker negotiated a buyout with the Thunder to join his hometown Knicks and Fournier, his former teammate with the Celtics.

Now, paths could cross again up and down I-90.

With the Knicks now emerging as the favorite destination for free agent point guard Jalen Brunson, New York is trying to open up cap space to sign him. After dealing Walker to the Pistons in a draft day trade (who is reportedly negotiating another buyout), GM Scott Perry still has work to do.

Last week, Arizona Sports 98.7’s John Gambodoro reported that the Knicks offered Evan Fournier to the Celtics to fit into their large $17.1 million TPE...that was created when Boston sign-and-traded Fournier to the Knicks. Today, SNY’s Ian Begley is reporting that the Celtics have “a degree of interest” in 11-year veteran Alec Burks.

After shuttling between the starting lineup and the bench last season, Burks finished 2021-2022 as one of New York’s most consistent starters, averaging 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3 assists, including shooting 40.4% from behind the arc. Burks is entering the second year of a 3-year. $30 million deal with a team option in the final season.

ESPN’s Tim McMahon is also reporting that Dallas could pursue a sign-and-trade deal with New York to recoup assets and that could include Fournier, Burks, or both.

For the Celtics, Burks represents a veteran presence that could fit in nicely to spell minutes for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Burks is an average defender at 6’6” and at times served as the de facto point guard with Walker and Derrick Rose unavailable for most of last season.

With Boston’s top-10 rotation players already inked through next season, any addition this summer should improve their championship odds for 2022-2023. According to our friends at DraftKings, the Eastern Conference champs are favored to win it again at +600 with the Milwaukee Bucks (+650) and Brooklyn Nets (+700) not trailing far behind.

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