NBA rumors: Caris LeVert still not with Pacers

Scott Agness: Caris LeVert has not joined the team yet. They just completed practiced in LA.

More on Caris LeVert Trade?

Shams Charania: The Nets are trading for All-NBA star James Harden and sending four first-round picks and four draft swaps to the Rockets, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen are being moved -- could be another team or two involved.
That’s the backdrop under which LeVert opened training camp this week. “This was kind of my first rodeo [regarding rumors],” said LeVert, 26. “Whatever happens, happens at the end of the day. I just try to think about it like that. “I’ve spoken to [general manager] Sean [Marks]. I talked to Sean a lot, a couple times a week. Those things definitely come up, and he’s been an open book, honestly, when it comes to that type of stuff. [We] have a great relationship, so if something does happen, I feel like I’ll know about it. I feel like he’ll tell me.”
“Whatever happens, happens. I just try to think about it like that,” he said. “Whatever happens, it was meant to be and it’ll happen that way. So I don’t stress myself out over it.” Still, LeVert couldn’t help but notice his name being mentioned frequently, as much as he tried to ignore the commotion. “It’s part of the business. They tell you that from Day 1, coming into it,” the guard said. “Nobody is irreplaceable. guys get moved every single year. For us, we just have to be prepared for any situation. I try not to pay attention to them, but it’s kinda hard when you turn on the tv and you see certain things, you turn on your social media [and] you see certain things. I just worry about the team, myself, putting in work every day and trying to maximize my potential.”
Based on Durant’s comments in recent interviews, it seems like he feels that Brooklyn already has the best complementary player on the roster: Caris LeVert. “I think Caris is that perfect guy for us to, any given night he can lead us in scoring or lead us in assists or he can control the offense or we can go to him in the post in a matchup,” Durant said last week on the Old Man & The Three podcast. “I feel like he has the tools to do everything on the basketball court. On our team, we play unselfishly, and we’ve got guys that can play off the basketball so on any given night anybody can be the star.” Durant was asked on the podcast if LeVert could be the "third star" for the Nets next season. “For sure,” he said.
“I hate to say this, but I would [make a trade]. First off, to be able to get any of those talents, when you have the opportunity to, you have to,” Garnett told The Daily News on Tuesday while promoting responsible drinking with Crown Royal. “LeVert is a really, really good up-and-coming player. He has value. You can leverage that and get you a Zach LaVine who can score with the best of em... Bradley Beal the same. Those pieces there are intricate to the availability — I don’t know how long Bradley Beal is going to be there to be available for Brooklyn.”
“I wouldn’t trade Caris; he’s great, especially at the price range he is at right now,” one of LeVert’s former teammates told HoopsHype. “He can take over a ball game and is loved by everyone in the organization, especially his teammates. The East still isn’t overly great. No need to take on the extra salary and personality when they should have no problem getting to the finals out of the East.” LeVert, who just turned 26 years old, is signed through the prime of his career. He’s signed for the next three seasons for $52.5 million, as noted on Brooklyn’s salaries page.
Irving implied as much himself, when he bluntly stated the franchise will have to add more in the summer if it hopes to contend. The Nets have more trade assets than most teams, including Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen, but LeVert might be the most prized chip of them all. “He’s got three years guaranteed at $17 million; that’s a high-value contract for him, locking into that contract when you’ve had that many injuries at Michigan,” said ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks, who is a former Nets assistant GM. “Yeah, that’s a good number as far as if you’re looking at a team. That’s not a dead-weight contract.” Now Nets GM Sean Marks must decide if it’s too high-value to trade, if the young wing’s torrid form before the season got shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic is sustainable.
The Brooklyn Nets are expected to continue to reshape their roster around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. "I believe they have telegraphed they intend to use some of their young talent to acquire a third star along with Kyrie and Durant," said Brian Windhorst. "Now, we can get enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star and they make the decision that he is. But my feel reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what Sean Marks has said and also being aware of some conversations they had at the trade deadline, which was sticking the toe in the water on some things, I think they're going to swing for the fences whenever the season comes. They're going to have to potentially hire a coach that is going to help them do that."
If Marks goes the trade route, ESPN NBA analyst Bobby Marks, who once served as assistant GM of the Nets, believes the biggest trade chips are Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, who split time with Irving in the backcourt for the few games all were healthy. “I think Dinwiddie provides the ultimate insurance policy for Kyrie,” Bobby Marks said in a recent interview with Newsday. “Do you trust Kyrie to stay healthy? I don’t know the answer to that question. On the other hand, Dinwiddie will be technically on an expiring contract (with a player option at the end of 2020-21). He’ll likely opt out. He can be extended starting in December, and are you comfortable having your two point guards making north of $50 million per year?
If Marks goes the trade route, ESPN NBA analyst Bobby Marks, who once served as assistant GM of the Nets, believes the biggest trade chips are Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, who split time with Irving in the backcourt for the few games all were healthy. “I think Dinwiddie provides the ultimate insurance policy for Kyrie,” Bobby Marks said in a recent interview with Newsday. “Do you trust Kyrie to stay healthy? I don’t know the answer to that question. On the other hand, Dinwiddie will be technically on an expiring contract (with a player option at the end of 2020-21). He’ll likely opt out. He can be extended starting in December, and are you comfortable having your two point guards making north of $50 million per year?
Several people mentioned the Nets could be active in trades. Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen are all names that rival executives believe to be available in some form. They could be attractive pieces for the Nets to package together to land a third star that sends them to the top of the conference. Some also wonder whether Brooklyn will spend big to keep unrestricted free agent Joe Harris this summer.
The Nets are almost certainly not dealing LeVert, Dinwiddie, or Jarrett Allen for a package centered on picks, sources say. That wouldn't make sense with Irving and Durant on board. Irving's knee injury is also a last-minute monkey wrench. LeVert suitors would be subject to what is effectively a poison pill because of his contract extension that kicks in next season. Ditto for Taurean Prince.
Remember LeVert’s words, “Whatever happens, happens” when asked about free agency. It wasn’t said in a cryptic way, but it’s the truth. Anything can happen at any time. The Nets are in a position to get big free agents and/or make a splash trade, specifically for Anthony Davis. However, sources say that while the Nets are engaged in talks with New Orleans, they’re reluctant to give away their young, foundation pieces. That would be Caris LeVert himself. Furthermore, NetsDaily learned that despite Durant’s injury, the Nets are expected to continue their pursuit of KD next month.
Eagle told Brian Egan and Michael Smeltz that the he thinks that there are “very few untouchables” (21:03) on the Nets roster, notably rookies Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead and Jeremy Lin, who he believes despite his injury is “in for the long haul.” (21:50). LeVert and Whitehead, he added, are particularly important for Sean Marks and Trajon Langdon because general managers know they “build your reputation in the draft” and the new guys in the front office did very well in 2016.
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March 6, 2021 | 9:32 pm EST Update

Gary Payton joining NBA staff?

Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton has not been shy about his desire to dive back into the NBA—as a coach. He told Yahoo! Sports last October that he had conversations about joining a coaching staff, “but the timing wasn’t right. I believe I now am ready to coach.” He did not, in the end, join a staff for this season, but now Payton says something is in the works and that could change shortly.
He didn’t name any teams, but Payton has said he would like to work with young players, and logical speculation would hold that he could land in Atlanta to mentor star guard Trae Young. Payton’s old teammate and close friend, Nate McMillan, took over the Hawks job after Lloyd Pierce was fired this week. Another possibility would be Detroit, where coach Dwane Casey is overseeing a rebuilding project with a slew of young players for the Pistons. Casey was an assistant coach for Payton’s great Supersonics teams in the 1990s.
Troy Brown: Please help me find my dog, Dex. He’s been missing since yesterday (March 5th). He went missing in the Kalorama neighborhood near 2535 Belmont Rd NW in DC. He’s an extremely friendly dog but he’s probably scared… only weighs about 15 pounds. He has tan and white fur.

March 6, 2021 | 6:25 pm EST Update
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