Indiana Pacers fans no longer have to worry about a second Paul George-like departure.
Victor Oladipo is a Houston Rocket. James Harden is a Brooklyn Net. And Caris LeVert is now a Pacer.
Just when we may have started to sense a little flow with the team’s personnel after the monster win in Golden State, Kevin Pritchard pulled the trigger. Oladipo won’t have to choose to stay in Indiana or not, and LeVert comes to a hungry and well-coached team.
Like the George trade that brought Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to town, Pritchard got it right yet again.
But what is Indiana getting in its new star? The 26-year-old LeVert was drafted in the first round out of Michigan in 2016. He’s averaging 18.5 points per game and about six assists per game.
Points-wise, that’s less than Oladipo. But unlike Oladipo’s contract expiring this year, LeVert’s has team control for another two seasons. To help us get to know the former Wolverine, Michael Grady jumped on The Ride with JMV Tuesday. Grady, the Nets sideline reporter for the YES Network, told JMV that he’s a fan of the deal.
“This could sound like bias because I’ve seen Caris up close and personal but I like Caris LeVert more than I like Victor Oladipo,” Grady said. “I like Caris from a locker room standpoint, I like him from a lack of ego perspective, and I like him from an upside standpoint. He’s low maintenance and about his business. And he understands what it takes to grow in the league.”
With the ever-changing drama from the Nets that has included Kyrie Irving missing games, it’s hard to say what exactly is going on in that locker room. Add Harden to the mix now and who knows.
But the one constant for the Nets has seemed to be LeVert. With Kevin Durant still completing his full rehab, LeVert has been called up to perform at a high level. Since January 5th, he has five straight games with at least 20 points. He dropped 43 at Memphis on the 8th.
“He’ll be a great fit and is someone you don’t have to worry about if his personality is going to mix with the guys,” Grady added. “When he first joined a bad Nets squad, he didn’t complain. Then he ended up going to the bubble and became one of the better players there. I think it would be best to put him on the second unit at first. When you’re trying to figure things out on a team, you want to give him the freedom to say go do you and work.”
MG said later on that LeVert is a guy that just wants to win. Combine that team mentality along with Nate Bjorkgren’s system, and this seems like a home run deal.
Pritchard and the front office put to bed any type of distraction that was being caused by Oladipo’s earlier summer comments. They got younger, they got more athletic, and they built a path to the future.
Now with the victory over the Warriors under their belt, it’s time for the Blue and Gold to get themselves in a groove.
Subscribe to The Ride with JMV Podcast