5 things Pacers fans should know about Caris LeVert
Pacers didn't suddenly conclude they had to trade Victor Oladipo
The Pacers weren't willing to give Victor Oladipo a max contract that he's going to demand in free agency and took advantage of his hot start.
J. Michael, Indianapolis Star
The Indiana Pacers acquired 6-6 wing Caris LeVert on Wednesday in a multiteam deal that sent Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets and James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. LeVert was the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Pacers and immediately traded to the Brooklyn Nets for Thad Young.
Here are 5 things Pacers fans should know about LeVert.
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He had been a Net all along
LeVert is in his fifth season, all with the Brooklyn Nets. He made an impact as a rookie, starting 26 games and averaging 8.1 points. He steadily increased his output through his first four seasons, averaging 18.7 points last season. He has also averaged 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals over his career.
Caris LeVert can fill it up
LeVert hit 15-of-23 shots from the field, including 7-of-9 3-pointers, in a 43-point outburst on Jan. 8 in a loss to Memphis. He has had at least 10 assists on two occasions this season.
LeVert makes impression in the bubble
He earned second-team "all-bubble" honors for his play last summer. In six games, he averaged 25 points, 6.7 assists, 5 rebounds and 1.5 steals as one of the few healthy Nets. He had 37- and 34-point performances.
Caris LeVert is under contract for a while
LeVert's salary cap hit is $16.2 million for this season, $17.5 million for next season and $18.8 million for 2022-23, according to Spotrac.
How Caris LeVert became 'Baby Durant'
LeVert earned the nickname "Baby Durant" at Michigan. This is how he got it, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe:
"He wowed the team immediately, staffers recall, and John Beilein, Michigan’s coach, offered a scholarship. The team viewed him as a deep bench player and discussed redshirting him; he was behind five future NBA draft picks. But LeVert was so good in practice, coaches quickly slotted him into the rotation.
"He was the team’s best one-on-one player, staffers recalled, regularly working (Tim) Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Trey Burke and other future pros with a herky-jerky style that flummoxed them. Teammates and coaches nicknamed him 'Baby Durant.”
"At Michigan, players couldn’t access the gym without a manager after certain hours. Staffers remember LeVert sheepishly calling managers after midnight, asking them if they might let him in. They always did, and stayed past 2 a.m."
Oddly enough, LeVert and Durant were Nets teammates for 12 games.