Kevin Durant Believes Caris LeVert Is 'Perfect Guy' to Be Nets' 3rd Star

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2020

Injured Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, right, puts his hand on fellow injured player Kevin Durant who smiles as he stands to greet teammates returning to the bench during a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Kevin Durant provided a strong endorsement of Brooklyn Nets teammate Caris LeVert as NBA fans question whether the Nets need a more established name to line up alongside Durant and Kyrie Irving

On the most recent episode of his The Old Man and the Three podcast, JJ Redick posited around the 1:05:55 mark LeVert can be the No. 3 guy behind Durant and Irving, to which Durant agreed.

The 10-time All-Star said LeVert can "for sure" fit that role.

"Caris is that perfect guy for us," he said, starting around the 3:30 mark in the video. "Any given night he can lead us in scoring or lead us in assists. He can control the offense or we can go to him in the post in a matchup, so I feel like he has the tools to do everything on the basketball court."

LeVert enjoyed a career year in 2019-20, averaging 18.7 points and 4.4 assists while hitting 36.4 percent of his three-pointers. He posted 20.7 points and 5.9 assists per game over nine appearances.

Durant posited that most teams no longer have a Big Three like Boston Celtics had with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and the Miami Heat replicated with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

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He said two All-Stars is largely the max across the league as part of his argument downplaying Brooklyn's need for another marquee name.

While that point is largely true, it isn't for a lack of trying from some franchises.

The Los Angeles Lakers' acquisition of Anthony Davis didn't stop them from pursuing Kawhi Leonard in free agency. The Los Angeles Clippers might not be content with just Leonard and Paul George, either. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported the Clippers are interested landing Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The NBA—especially for teams in major markets or considered attractive destinations—has become an arms race, with the focus on grouping as many stars as possible together. Durant contributed to the trend when he signed with the Golden State Warriors.

As a result, it's natural for people to wonder whether the Nets would attempt to deal LeVert since the 26-year-old is their most attractive trade asset not named Durant or Irving.

Durant isn't the general manager, but his opinion presumably holds some level of sway within the organization.

When James wrote his letter outlining why he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, he listed off a handful of Cavaliers players. Perhaps not coincidentally, No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins didn't receive a mention. Wiggins was subsequently a centerpiece of the Kevin Love trade.

Durant's praise of LeVert sends a clear message.