Updated Friday, June 24 12:18 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Nets will acquire Michigan shooting guard Caris LeVert from the Indiana Pacers after Brooklyn traded Thaddeus Young to Indiana earlier in the day for the No. 20 draft pick.
The Pacers sent their first-round pick to the Nets on Thursday, hours before the draft began, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal could not be announced until the NBA salary cap goes up in July.
The 6-foot-7 LeVert had each of his last two seasons cut short by injuries to his left foot. He has had three surgeries the last two years, including one in March at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He was at Barclays Center, the home of his new team, dressed in a Michigan maize and blue suits and got a big ovation from the fans when his name was announced as Indiana’s pick.
But LeVert knows he’ll be playing in Brooklyn.
“You know, I went for a visit about a month ago. I knew the staff really liked me but I didn’t know if they had any first-round picks,” he said. “I probably won’t be doing Summer League, but my X-rays and CT scans look good. It’s just a matter of rushing back right now.”
LeVert averaged 16.5 points in 15 games as a senior last year and 14.9 in 18 games as a junior. He shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range in his career.
The scouting report on LeVert from CBSSports.com says:
Strengths: Offensively, there’s really quite little that LeVert can’t have success doing. He’s a great ball-handler, shoots the ball at a high level, passes well, and has the kind of size NBA teams are looking for.
Weaknesses: The big one is on injuries. Foot and leg injuries have placed his draft stock in flux, as NBA teams wonder if they can rely on him staying healthy long-term. It’s taken what would have likely been a first round pick and made it questionable as to whether he’ll be picked at all.
In the second round, the Nets drafted North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige with the 55th overall pick, but he was traded, along with financial considerations, to Utah for Seton Hall shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead, a Brooklyn native who had been selected 42nd overall.
The 6-foot-4 Whitehead averaged 18.2 points last season.
The Nets are starting a major rebuild under new general manager Sean Marks and new coach Kenny Atkinson, but had no first-round pick in Thursday night’s draft. The Celtics hold the Nets’ pick, No. 3 overall, as Brooklyn (21-61 last season) continues to pay for the 2013 trade that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to New York. Picking up a first-round draft pick gives the Nets another asset to either use for their roster or peddle in trade offers going forward.
The Nets also received a future second-round pick from the Pacers.
It’s the second big move this week by Pacers President Larry Bird as he looks to retool the team and make it a faster, sleeker group for new coach Nate McMillan. The Pacers landed point guard Jeff Teague in a three-team trade with Atlanta and Utah that sent George Hill to the Jazz on Wednesday.
Young is a versatile steals artist who averaged 15.1 points with the Nets last season. He signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Nets last summer and Marks had said the 28-year-old was part of the team’s plans for the upcoming season.
Instead, he flipped Young to get back into the first round. The Nets are still on the hook with the Celtics for the next two seasons. Next year Boston has the right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn and the Celtics own the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder, too.
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