Caris LeVert: Pacers Trade May Have Saved My Life After Mass Found on Kidney

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) looks for his next move during the first quarter of an NBA basketball gam, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Caris LeVert went to the Indiana Pacers in the multi-team trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets and Victor Oladipo to the Houston Rockets, but the 26-year-old guard said the change in scenery may have helped save his life after an MRI revealed a small mass on his left kidney.

"I didn't have any symptoms," LeVert said, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN. "I was playing in games. I hadn't missed any games this season yet. I was feeling 100 percent healthy. So, in a way, this trade definitely showed and revealed what was going on in my body, so I'm definitely looking at it from that side and definitely humbled to know that this trade could've possibly saved me in the long run."

LeVert, who is out indefinitely, said he and the team are waiting for the results from tests before he returns to the floor.

"Obviously, I want to play as soon as possible," he said. "I'm a competitor. I love to play the game. But for me, I think making sure I'm good health-wise is most important. So, as far as timeline and everything like that, we'll definitely figure it out some time in the future. But right now we just don't have those answers."

While Oladipo was a key piece for the Pacers, LeVert figures to be someone who can slide right into their talented lineup as soon as he is cleared to play.

Malcolm Brogdon will continue to run the offense as the primary ball-handler and facilitator, while the frontcourt combination of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner (when he is back from a fractured hand) is among the most talented in the Eastern Conference.

That will free up LeVert to make plays on the wing by either hitting from three-point range when defenders collapse on the bigs or attacking the basket off feeds from Brogdon.

LeVert is averaging 18.5 points, 6.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game this season.

While it remains to be seen when he will return to the court, LeVert acknowledged the support he has received from the Pacers organization, which selected him in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft before trading him to the Nets.