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While there are some situations where a change of scenery is required, by and large, most players don’t want to learn they’ve been traded. For Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert, however, a trade could have literally saved his life.

As part of the James Harden trade, Caris LeVert moved from the Brooklyn Nets to the Indiana Pacers. While he’s yet to take the court for his new team, he’s still thankful that the trade prevented a potential long-term issue.

Caris LeVert showed plenty of promise before being dealt to the Pacers

When James Harden and Victor Oladipo are involved in a trade, they’re obviously going to steal most of the headlines. Caris LeVert, however, still proved himself to be quite the player during his time with the Brooklyn Nets.

LeVert played his college ball at the University of Michigan and, despite barely playing as a freshman, grew into quite the talent. While injuries proved to be a nagging concern—he had three foot surgeries and battled through a leg problem—the guard’s stats improved every campaign; during his injury-shortened senior year, for example, he averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in 15 appearances.

While his injury history was still a concern, the Indiana Pacers decided to take a chance on LeVert, selecting him with the 20th-overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft. He was traded to the Nets during that summer, though, and started his professional career in Brooklyn.

In a similar way to what he did in college, the guard started quietly but eventually grew into his role. As a rookie, he averaged just over eight points per game; during the 2019-20 season, LeVert played almost 30 minutes per night and averaged 18.7 points per outing.

A trade and a troubling discovery during a physical

During his time with the Brooklyn Nets, Caris LeVert proved to be quite the player. That reality made him a desirable trade chip and, when the James Harden deal went down, the guard found himself heading back to Indiana.

As part of the four-team trade, LeVert was dealt to the Indiana Pacers. During his physical, however, there was a problem.

“Caris LeVert will be out indefinitely after an MRI revealed a small mass on his left kidney during a physical prior to finalizing the four-team trade with Brooklyn, Houston, and Cleveland,” the Pacers explained in an official statement. “LeVert will undergo further medical tests, and more details will follow as needed.”

Purely from a basketball perspective, that’s a tough break for the Pacers; not only did they trade away Victor Oladipo, but one of the players they got in return is unable to play for the foreseeable future. For LeVert, however, there’s a major silver lining to the situation.

That trade could have saved Caris LeVert ‘in the long run’

Being traded is rarely fun; it’s even worse when an injury prevents you from joining your new team. For Caris LeVert, however, there’s a major silver lining to the situation.

At this point, it isn’t clear if the mass on his kidney is cancerous or not. Regardless of the specifics, though, LeVert admitted that this discovery could have prevented potential problems down the road.

“I didn’t have any symptoms. I was playing in games. I hadn’t missed any games this season yet. I was feeling 100 percent healthy,” LeVert explained, according to ESPN. “So, in a way, this trade definitely showed and revealed what was going on in my body; so I’m definitely looking at it from that side and definitely humbled to know that this trade could’ve possibly saved me in the long run.”

Again, it’s not 100% clear what the future holds for LeVert. He’s being held out of action indefinitely, but the Pacers have repeatedly said they’re excited to integrate him into the team when he’s cleared to play. If nothing else, though, this trade could have been a literal life-saver.

“To me, the most important thing is to get my body healthy and make sure I live a long life,” LeVert continued. “Before basketball, I think that’s the most important thing; so, for me, I’m not really looking at that side of things.

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference and Basketball-Reference


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