Brooklyn Nets wing Caris LeVert is someone whose name has surfaced quite a bit as people put together potential trade package that Brooklyn could offer the Minnesota Timberwolves for four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.
While many players are mentioned as potential trade chips this time of year, LeVert is especially interesting because his contract and long-term value make him a desirable asset. He is only 24 years old and he could make a big leap forward this year – possibly even entering the Most Improved Player discussion – which is why we keep hearing his name attached to Butler.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton suggested a deal involving LeVert and DeMarre Carroll as well as a first-round pick in exchange for Butler. His ESPN colleague Zach Lowe proposed one centered around LeVert with Allen Crabbe and Kenneth Faried and a protected first rounder sent to the Timberwolves for Butler and Gorgui Dieng.
Here is what Lowe said about such a trade for Brooklyn (via ESPN):
“This looks like a lot for Brooklyn to give up. LeVert is good. But he also projects as someone who could top out as the fourth-best player on a good team. Denver’s pick could end up No. 20 or worse. Ditching Crabbe’s deal is a plus. If the Nets think Butler is worth $190 million and can attract a good star, they would think about this.”
But it seems LeVert’s teammates want him to stick around, as they raved about him during Media Day. He has a lot of fans within the organization and his new teammate Jared Dudley has called him unguardable.
LeVert is one of the few players who performed well offensively in transition last season. Brooklyn was the least efficient team in the league on this play type. The wing, however, averaged 1.17 points per possession in transition; this ranked No. 13 overall among similar-volume contributors (minimum: 150 possessions) in the Eastern Conference, per Synergy Sports.
He also ranked No. 14 in the conference for total points scored when in isolation, showing how talented he is when matched up one-on-one against defenders. LeVert missed most of last offseason recovering from injury, so more time to train this summer could lead to a far more developed version of LeVert on the court.
After a strong rookie season in which he hit a lot of mid-range shots, LeVert struggled to convert these field goals last year. If he can get back to that form, or if front offices believe his first year was more indicative of his talent, he’ll definitely be worth watching as trade talks heat up.