We can all agree that the James Harden blockbuster was an absolute necessity in order for the Brooklyn Nets to maximize their championship window, right?
At the same time, however, we can also agree that it pained fans to their core to see budding homegrown talents like Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen leave just as they were beginning to scratch the surface of their potential in Brooklyn.
When it comes to LeVert, he holds a special place in Nets fans’ hearts, given his fearless style of play, humble personality, and the laundry list of injuries he’s had to overcome throughout his young career.
In terms of adversity, very few players in the league have dealt with more than the former first-round pick. Unfortunately for LeVert, this narrative continued in disheartening fashion just as he was getting set help his Indiana Pacers punch a ticket to the playoffs.
On Tuesday afternoon, just hours before Indiana is scheduled to tip off against the Charlotte Hornets, LeVert was ruled out due to health and safety protocols.
Caris LeVert missing the play-in tournament will devastate Brooklyn Nets fans.
This is just so unfair.
LeVert is a huge reason why the Pacers are even in position to quality for the postseason, so him not having the chance to finish what he started is devastating. For context, Indiana is 18-17 with the 26-year-old guard in the lineup.
As Nets fans will recall, trading LeVert to the Pacers might have saved his life, as the physical required to complete the blockbuster revealed a cancerous tumor on his left kidney. Luckily for LeVert, however, it was detected before it could spread anywhere else in his body.
The former Nets star subsequently underwent surgery and began rehabbing with the hope of returning before the end of the season. A little over two months after the operation, LeVert returned to the Pacers’ lineup (his debut for the team) in a win over the Suns.
Since then, LeVert has looked like a cornerstone piece for Indiana, averaging 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 44.3% from the floor and 31.8% on threes over 35 contests, which is remarkable given the circumstances.
The worst part of this news? Even if Indiana manages to squeak into the playoffs, LeVert likely won’t be available for their first-round matchup against the 76ers, as a follow-up report by insider Shams Charania of The Athletic indicates he could be sidelined for up to two weeks.
We know Brooklyn Nets fans are fully consumed by the Celtics-Wizards matchup, as the winner of that series will face BK in Round 1. However, LeVert’s success is something the fan base will always pull for, regardless of who he’s playing for.
Because of that, this update on his status for the play-in is heartbreaking.