KEY POINTS

  • The Pacers trading Caris LeVert to the Cavaliers is the right move for both clubs
  • Moving LeVert is a sign that the Pacers will be more willing to move Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner by the trade deadline
  • The 2022 NBA Draft is set to be loaded with franchise-changing talents

The Indiana Pacers decided to deal starting swingman Caris LeVert to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it may be an indicator that they are looking to make more trades ahead of the NBA trade deadline.

Famed NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the deal via Twitter, with the Cavaliers receiving LeVert and the Miami Heat’s second-round pick in exchange for injured point guard Ricky Rubio, a lottery-protected 2022 first round pick, the Houston Rockets’ 2022 second-round pick, and the Utah Jazz’s 2027 second-rounder.

Initial reactions to the trade had fans claiming that Cavs general manager Koby Altman had fleeced the Pacers for LeVert due to the lottery protection.

In layman’s terms, the Cavaliers sending a lottery-protected pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA draft means that the pick will convey to the Pacers if Cleveland makes the playoffs.

However, that pick will go back to the Cavaliers if they miss the playoffs.

As it stands, the Cavaliers are at third place in the Eastern Conference, four wins ahead of the seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets and eight wins ahead of the Atlanta Hawks who are at 10th.

Adding LeVert certainly gives the Cavaliers an assurance that they will remain in the top six of the conference as his scoring ability is something that Cleveland has been missing for much of the season.

LeVert is currently averaging 18.7 points on 44.7 percent field goal shooting this season–a massive get for their 20th-ranked offense (110.1 points per 100 possessions) based on subscription-based stats website Cleaning the Glass.

With regards to the 13th-place Pacers, adding a second lottery pick increases their chances of jumping up in the 2022 NBA draft and selecting a future franchise cornerstone.

The upcoming draft is projected to have budding stars like Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero–prospects that any rebuilding team would love to have.

This trade by the Pacers, in turn, allows them to focus on their future and may be the catalyst to them selling off one of their core guys.

In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, the Pacers have been rumored to be open to shipping off Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis or Malcolm Brogdon in order to kickstart a soft rebuild.

The likeliest candidates for a trade would have to be Sabonis and Turner as they carry the most value to a team who is looking to make a push for NBA title contention immediately.

Case in point, the reigning Western Conference Champions in the Suns have reportedly inquired about Sabonis according to Twitter user FLEX from Jersey, the same insider who first leaked the rumors that Chris Paul would be coming to Phoenix.

LeVert may be the first domino to fall to help the Pacers’ rebuild and will not certainly be the last.

Moving Sabonis or Turner might be best for Indiana’s future as they, along with Brogdon, have failed to remain healthy for long stretches of time, and going after a younger talent might be their best option.

Domantas Sabonis Malcolm Brogdon Indiana Pacers Domantas Sabonis #11 and Malcolm Brogdon #7 of the Indiana Pacers talk during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 29, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images