The Ricky Rubio–Caris LeVert exchange is official. LeVert is a Cav, and Rubio will be Pacer as of Tuesday. The Cavaliers received a second-round pick via Miami, while the Pacers received a 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick from Houston, and a 2027 second-round pick from Utah.
“We are very excited to add a dynamic young player of this caliber and experience,” Cavs GM Koby Altman said in a statement on Monday. “Caris LeVert fits uniquely into our culture, and his Ohio roots brings an immediate connection to our community. We look forward to seeing what type of impact he can make on this roster. We also want to send our best wishes to Ricky Rubio and his family. Ricky has been the consummate professional, and his leadership both on and off the court was invaluable, and we respect everything he brought to this franchise.”
OFFICIAL: #Cavs acquire F Caris LeVert.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) February 7, 2022
LeVert will reportedly take on the off-guard spot opposite All-Star point guard Darius Garland who has been hampered by a sore lower back as of late. The acquisition of LeVert adds scoring punch to a lineup that is missing Collin Sexton since he went down for the season with a knee injury in February.
“He and Garland in the backcourt is really dynamic,” Carlisle said. “These guys have improved a great deal today.”
LeVert has been in trade rumors since December when the Pacers were rumored to be looking to trade former All-Star Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and LeVert to help speed up their rebuilding process. When the Cavs and Pacers agreed to the exchange, it was about 90 minutes before tipoff of their game against each other on Sunday. Pacers Coach Rick Carlisle confirmed the news pregame with assembled media.
News of the trade was delayed so Carlisle could notify LeVert was headed down the hall.
With the Cavs (33-21) squarely in the driver’s seat as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, LeVert can help raise the ceiling of a team that has blasted away any preseason expectations many around the League had for them. Cleveland still has time to make one more move as well. The NBA’s trade deadline isn’t until Thursday.
LeVert signed a three-year, $52 million contract with Brooklyn in 2020. Since re-signing with Brooklyn, he’s been moved to Indiana and now Cleveland. The 27-year-old guard averaged 18.7 points and 4.4 assists for the disappointing Pacers (19-36). The Cavaliers will return to action on Wednesday when they play the Spurs at home.