NBA Trade Grades: Cavaliers acquire Caris LeVert from Pacers to further playoff push

Caris LeVert. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Caris LeVert. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Ricky Rubio and multiple draft picks for Caris LeVert from the Pacers. Which side won the trade?

The Cavaliers and Pacers will face off on Sunday night, so Caris LeVert won’t even have to go very far to introduce himself to his new teammates after being traded from Detroit to Cleveland.

The 27-year-old wing might not have realized he was heading to his new home at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse but that’s how it worked out.

Now, it’s time to look deeper at the trade that could take Cleveland’s playoff dreams to new heights and play a big role in the Indiana rebuild.

Who won the Caris LeVert Pacers-Cavaliers trade?

Cleveland Cavaliers grade: A

The Cavaliers young core has carried them to fourth in the Eastern Conference, sitting just 1.5 games out of first place.

Now they’ve gotten much stronger by picking up a wing who can score to boost their offense.

LeVert is averaging 18.7 points per game this year after putting up 20.2 in 2020-21. He’s also coming off a 42 point game against the Bulls, which is all the proof Cleveland needs of his shooting and scoring ability.

There’s no doubt LeVert will add to the Cavaliers’ offensive output, making their hopes of a deep playoff run even more realistic. The best part of the trade is how it didn’t cost them that much to make that upgrade happen.

The pick-up should be well-worth Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract and a couple of draft picks with far less certainty than LeVert’s.

There’s a long-term play here as well. LeVert is eligible for a contract extension and has a pretty good incentive to stick around Cleveland. For one, the team’s future is bright given their youth and talent. Secondly, LeVert is from Ohio and could stay home for the long term.

Indiana Pacers grade: B

The Pacers are not in win-now mode, so the trade grade really depends on what they do with the assets they just received.

In one sense, it’s a surprise Indiana couldn’t get an active player back for LeVert, but that’s not really what they need. Rubio’s expiring contract will free up a nice chunk of cap space. The draft picks can be turned into top players down the line. It’s all in the execution.

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