The Brooklyn Nets have a shot at reuniting with former player Caris LeVert since recent reports are suggesting the Indiana Pacers might be conducting a fires sale ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline to re-tool and expedite a likely rebuild.
The 27-year-old spent four full seasons with Brooklyn before being sent to Indiana as part of the four-team James Harden trade last January. Here we are 11 months later, and the Pacers might ready to jump ship by moving both LeVert and 25-year-old big man Myles Turner.
Truthfully, Brooklyn could use both of these guys. Domantas Sabonis and Turner are the two big names in trade talks for the Pacers. Turner’s more intriguing than Sabonis because the Nets need depth at forward/center and better defense down low as well. But most of all, this would makes the Nets’ depth formidable.
LeVert’s started in all 18 games that he’s played in for Indiana and is averaging 14.9 points per game (on a career-low 42% from the field). Compared that to the 12 games he played for Brooklyn at the start of the 2020-21 season — he averaged 18.5 points and shot 43.5% from the floor — and you see a clear difference.
As for Turner, the big man is averaging 12.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in his 25 games with the Pacers this year, and the two-time All-Star is shooting a career-high 52.6% from the floor.
We know firsthand what LeVert would bring to the table, but man, wouldn’t it be nice to have Turner, who led the NBA in blocks per game last year with 3.4? He’s also one of the best rim protectors in the league, which is something the Nets are horrid at.
What would it take for Brooklyn to acquire LeVert? And maybe even Turner? A lot, but let’s not forget that the Nets have a pretty decent point guard on their roster who could be used to their advantage in addition to a number of younger assets the Pacers might be interested in.
Will Caris LeVert and Myles Turner join the Brooklyn Nets?
The Nets are going to have to do something before the trade deadline, especially if Irving continues to remain away from the team. The question is if the Pacers are willing to trade for Irving, considering they’re now finally accepting the reality that it may be time for them to go into a full rebuild mode. At the very least, Irving is an expiring contract (barring him picking up his player option, which is highly unlikely), and would help them free up a ton of cap space for next year, which has inherent value.
Perhaps there’s a third team that Brooklyn and Indiana could loop into the mix to make this a reality, but the Pacers are expected to be patient with trade requests, so there’s no need for Indiana to be in any sort of rush. The trade deadline isn’t until Feb. 10.
Unless Harden goes on an absolute tear, the Nets will need to make an impactful trade deadline deal because Kevin Durant will not be able to put this team on his shoulders from start to finish. It’s too tall a task.
As the days go on, Indiana’s demands will become more clear. The Pacers may be interested in a young player like Day’Ron Sharpe, who’s shown promise this year in the games that he’s played in for the Long Island Nets. Or maybe the Nets would even be willing to let go of Cam Thomas, who has earned more minutes after he dropped 46 points in the G League. Those are two first-round picks from the 2021 NBA Draft … any reason the Pacers wouldn’t be intrigued by that package if that’s what it came down to? Two young, promising talents plus Irving for a year and his $35 million coming off the books when 2022-2023 arrives? Even if the Nets could give the Pacers draft picks, they would all be late first-rounders, so it’s not like there’s more value in higher picks over Sharpe and Thomas.
In the end, the Pacers might be looking for more, which is understandable, but this is worth pondering if there aren’t ample suitors driving up the asking price for LeVert and/or Turner. Then again, it’s not going to be the easiest of tasks for Indiana to get a ton of value for LeVert, who’s having a down season, and Turner, who averages 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for his career.