Brooklyn Nets: Caris LeVert contract extension should be a top priority

Brooklyn Nets Caris LeVert. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Caris LeVert. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets are preparing to make a splash in free agency this summer, but they should prioritize extending a key player in their rotation.

With the NBA season officially over, it’s a very exciting time for NBA teams. The offseason brings new life, new opportunities and new destinations for many people in the association. For the Brooklyn Nets, it means a chance to make a splash in free agency.

After a surprising season in which they made the playoffs, the Nets are rumored to be interested in free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. With point guard D’Angelo Russell also being a restricted free agent this summer as well, the Nets have a lot of possibilities.

One of the decisions the Nets need to think about is the contract of guard Caris LeVert. Next year will be the last year on his rookie deal and will be eligible for an extension fro,m July 1 until the day before the regular-season opener in October.

His defensive skills, ability to handle the ball and get to the basket are value assets needed for long-term success for the Nets.

The Nets can create enough cap space for two max contracts and have stated their intentions to upgrade the team. While the team looks to re-sign All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell, they should also think about extending the contract of guard Caris LeVert as well.

Prior to his injury last November, LeVert was arguably the Nets’ best player at the start of the season. He was averaging close to 19 points a night while shooting 47 percent from the field. LeVert is able to handle the ball which adds to his versatility.

Having LeVert create opportunities for others was a major strength for Brooklyn.

His chemistry with Ed Davis and Jarrett Allen last year in the pick-and-roll was very effective. Coach Kenny Atkinson often would play LeVert with Russell or Spencer Dinwiddie and have LeVert be the primary ball handler. This made Brooklyn very hard to guard towards the end of the season.

He is a force on the offensive and defensive end and often guards the opposing team’s best wing player. His ability to get into the passing lanes and contest shots are something that the Nets heavily rely on, as they help force turnovers and get out on the fast break.

After returning in February from his gruesome leg injury, LeVert was a bit rusty and a move to the bench helped get his game back to where he was early in the season.

After a strong end to the regular season, his playoff performance against the star-studded Philadelphia 76ers was a clear indication that LeVert’s stock was rising very fast.

LeVert became the first Net player since Vince Carter in 2007 to score 25 points in three consecutive playoff games. While other Nets struggled shooting the ball, LeVert was on fire from 3 and exposed Philly in the pick-and-roll.

LeVert, in five games versus Philadelphia, averaged 21 points, almost five rebounds and three assists while shooting 49 percent from the field and a scorching 46 percent from behind the arc. His best game of the series was in Game 4, where he scored 25 points and dished out six assists.

One thing that stood out about this game was that LeVert was not afraid of the big moment. He was inserted into the starting lineup prior to the game and gave Philly all they could handle.

He took advantage of mismatches in the pick and roll, found open teammates for good shots, guarded Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris at points of the game and was very efficient as well.

He showed that he was the most important player for the Nets going forward. His talent on both ends of the floor is something you can’t teach. LeVert’s defense is also a strength that makes him super valuable for the Nets.

An addition of Kyrie Irving in the offseason would open up more options for Brooklyn. The ability to put Irving and Russell off the ball with LeVert handling the point and trusting it will work is something the Nets think is possible.

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The Nets should be thinking about a LeVert extension once free agency is over. Two-way wings are very valuable in today’s NBA and if LeVert continues his ascension, he will get paid next summer. LeVert is one of the homegrown talents on this team and should be a Net long-term.