The Cavs are hoping to find a fill-in (and perhaps permanent replacement) for the injured Collin Sexton as a starter. Right now, second-year man Isaac Okoro isn’t doing the job. That’s not to say he can’t someday — but the focus for the Cavs (14-12) is suddenly on the now, while continuing to grow things for the future.
Plenty of members within the Cavs organization like LeVert, and general manager Koby Altman will likely at least make an exploratory call. Goodness knows, Altman has the assets, with plenty of younger players and draft picks.
But sources have told Hoops Wire the Pacers would be hesitant to trade LeVert within the Central Division (or even the Eastern Conference). If they do find deals for LeVert, power forward Domantas Sabonis and center Myles Turner, Indiana would naturally prefer they take place with teams from the West.
That makes sense, but the bottom line is if the Pacers really want to move their accomplished veterans to start a rebuild, they will take the best offer they can get — trade partner’s location be darned.
Granted, the likes of point guard Darius Garland, center Jarrett Allen and rookie forward Evan Mobley are off limits. You can probably say the same for forward Lauri Markkanen. Garland and the three big men are the main reasons for the Cavs’ turnaround this season.
A deal of Okoro and Cedi Osman straight up for LeVert works under the salary cap. But that would hardly be enough for the Pacers, when you consider what teams other than the Cavs could offer.
The Cavs would also need to throw in a first-round draft pick. Maybe they could convince Indiana for it to be top-three protected in such a scenario. That still sounds doable.
Along with that, the Pacers may want Indianapolis native Dylan Windler, who perhaps could use a fresh start back home. He would certainly be in the mix in any Cavs-Pacers talks, mostly because of Indiana.
So if the Cavs were to pull off a deal for LeVert, odds are, it would involve four or five players, and LeVert may not be the only one coming back to Cleveland.
For now, though, this is all speculation. All we really know is the Cavs have an interest in LeVert and he is supposedly available. We also know he would immediately cure their inconsistent — and sometimes downright nonexistent — shooting guard production minus Sexton.
And just imagine next season, should Sexton return, with either Sexton or LeVert starting and the other playing the role of explosive sixth man. Or something else to think about … perhaps Sexton would be a piece in a LeVert deal.
The Cavs (14-12) are already on a roll when completely healthy, having won five of seven. Ten of those 14 victories have come over teams with winning records. J.B. Bickerstaff is undoubtedly in the early running for NBA Coach of the Year.
LeVert, 27, is 6-foot-6 and averaging 14.9 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds on the season. He’s not an All-Star, but he’s very good, theoretically still has plenty of good years left, and is still capable of scoring 20-25 a night, as he averaged a career-high 20.7 points last season.
He has also shown in Indiana this year that he is willing to take a step back, in terms of shots, for the good of the team and to give the younger players a chance to develop. That is precisely the type of player the Cavs could use. He checks all of their boxes.
On top of that, LeVert is an Ohio guy, having played his high school ball at Pickerington Central, outside of Columbus. (Current Rockets guard/forward Jae’Sean Tate was a teammate.)
Could the Cavs actually land LeVert? That remains to be seen. As former Cavs GM Chris Grant once told Hoops Wire, “Trades are an incredibly difficult thing to predict.”
But the interest is there from the Cavs, as is LeVert’s availability. That makes it something worth watching.