The Indiana Pacers are open for business, and Caris LeVert is among the players that could be on the move via trade. The 27-year-old wing is a smooth scorer who has flashed the ability to be a leading or 1b source of offense with both the Pacers and Brooklyn Nets.
Injuries and health scares have plagued LeVert’s NBA career. That said, he has been able to bounce back every time to be a steady isolation and perimeter scorer. LeVert can fit into varying types of NBA programs (e.g. a leading scorer on a rebuilding team or a complementary scorer on a playoff team).
Here are three ideal trade destinations for Caris LeVert.
3) Caris LeVert to the New Orleans Pelicans
- Pelicans get: Caris LeVert
- Pacers get: Tomas Satoransky, Jaxson Hayes, Los Angeles Lakers’ 2022 first-round draft pick and Los Angeles Lakers’ 2023 first-round draft pick
The Pelicans are a mess, most notably with Zion Williamson yet to play this season due to injury. While the team is out of the Western Conference playoff picture, president David Griffin may feel this season is his team’s last chance to break through and compete in the spring festivities. LeVert could make a difference for the Pelicans.
With or without Williamson, the Pelicans need more scoring; their best chance at making the playoffs is being a high-power offensive unit. In the short term, LeVert would add more depth to an already deep wing rotation. Presumably on the floor alongside Brandon Ingram, Devonte’ Graham, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Jonas Valanciunas, LeVert would round out a versatile and well-rounded group. Everyone can score from the perimeter and either operate in isolation or the post.
This is an extremely talented Pelicans team. That same raw talent isn’t generating wins, though, which is what could lead them to a LeVert trade. LeVert could be a vital part of the Pelicans’ future should they decide to stick with Williamson and Ingram in the frontcourt. At full force, LeVert moves a starting-caliber guard to the second unit making for a high-octane reserve corps.
- Caris LeVert stats (2021-22): 16.3 points, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 44.0/29.8/80.4
Hayes hasn’t panned out as a top-10 pick and the Lakers’ first-rounders are, in thought, back-half first round selections. Plus, the Pelicans have a handful of upcoming first-rounders outside of the Lakers’ picks. From Indiana’s perspective, Hayes could be the starting or backup center if Myles Turner is moved while they corral more future picks.
All that being said, the Pelicans may prefer to simply ride it out with those in the building and decide the future of their core in the offseason.
2) Caris LeVert to the Portland Trail Blazers
- Trail Blazers get: Caris LeVert
- Pacers get: Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, Robert Covington and Portland Trail Blazers’ 2025 first-round draft pick
The Trail Blazers appear committed to their nucleus, which means they’re more likely to be buyers than sellers at the NBA trade deadline. Regardless of the direction they go in the next 12 months, LeVert can be part of Portland’s future.
For starters, LeVert would be an enormous enhancement to head coach Chauncey Billups’ offense. The former adds another legitimate scoring option alongside the likes of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Norman Powell. All four of those players on the floor hinders teams’ ability to fortify their defensive efforts on Lillard and McCollum, as Powell and LeVert are proven scorers themselves.
If Portland aspires to win the West, sacrificing developing players for more sturdy forces has to be considered, and LeVert would be someone worth doing as such for. It would be somewhat similar to them trading Gary Trent Jr. for Powell last season. Meanwhile, Simons and Little become immediate rotation players for the Pacers and get the opportunity to grow into more reliable scorers.
- Caris LeVert contract per Spotrac: second season of a three-year, $52.5 million deal
In the scenario that the Trail Blazers blow it up in the NBA offseason, LeVert would be part of the team’s new core along with the premier pieces they get in trades for Lillard and McCollum. He becomes the leading scorer on a new-look Portland team, getting the chance to be the player that the team leans on for a bucket in crunch time.
The factor that may stop LeVert from going to Portland, however, is them believing that he doesn’t add a new dimension to their offense, making it an unnecessary trade.
1) Caris LeVert to the Memphis Grizzlies
- Grizzlies get: Caris LeVert
- Pacers get: De’Anthony Melton, Brandon Clarke, Jarrett Culver and Memphis’ 2023 second-round draft pick
It’s go time for the Grizzlies. This has to be the season where they go deep in the playoffs. Acquiring LeVert boosts their chances of doing damage as a collective whole.
Ja Morant is currently recovering from a knee injury, leaving head coach Taylor Jenkins without his star player. LeVert adds another potential top-scoring option to their rotation. He and Dillon Brooks would make for a stout wing duo. When Morant returns, the Grizzlies are loaded offensively with several scoring outlets.
Championship windows can close in a hurry. Are the Grizzlies in a make-or-break season? They are not. That said, this is year three of them having a compelling roster with individuals who have made strides. At some point, you have to win a playoff series or two, and the Grizzlies are one of the teams that has to take advantage of the precarious nature of the West this season.
LeVert is in the same general age bracket as his would-be Memphis teammates and nearing his prime. As it concerns a trade, the Grizzlies move Melton for the sake of getting LeVert, as Tyus Jones can backup Morant, and Clarke and Culver have possessed mere rotation roles or been inconsistent of late. This trade is worth the price of admission, especially considering that the Grizzlies are still 10-deep after making this swap. On a rebuilding Indiana team, these players would be getting the chance to remake themselves and in Melton’s case potentially start.
LeVert gives the Grizzlies a better chance of being an NBA contender and would be a bold move that the front office can justify in pursuit of winning.