NEW YORK —The draft-pick starved Brooklyn Nets traded their way into the first-round and came away with an oft-injured player whose recovery they know a lot about.
The Nets will acquire Michigan shooting guard Caris LeVert from the Indiana Pacers after Brooklyn traded Thaddeus Young to Indiana earlier in the day for the No. 20 pick.
The Pacers sent their first-round pick to the Nets on Thursday, hours before the NBA draft began, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal could not be announced until the NBA salary cap goes up in July.
The 6-foot-7 LeVert had each of his last two seasons cut short by injuries to his left foot. He has had three surgeries the last two years, including one in March at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He was at Barclays Center, the home of his new team, dressed in a Michigan maize and blue suits and got a big ovation from the fans when his name was announced as Indiana’s pick.
But LeVert knows he’ll be playing in Brooklyn for a team that should be well informed about his injury. LeVert’s surgery was done by Dr. Martin O’Malley, who is on the Nets medical staff as a foot and ankle specialist.
“You know, I went for a visit about a month ago. I knew the staff really liked me but I didn’t know if they had any first-round picks,” he said. “I probably won’t be doing Summer League, but my X-rays and CT scans look good. It’s just a matter of rushing back right now.”
LeVert averaged 16.5 points in 15 games as a senior last year and 14.9 in 18 games as a junior. He shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range in his career.
The Nets later swapped second-round picks with Utah, sending cash to the Jazz to move up from 55 to 42, a person with knowledge of the deal told the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was still pending league approval. The Jazz picked Brooklyn native Isaiah Whitehead of Seton Hall for the Nets and Brooklyn selected North Carolina guard Marcus Paige for Utah.
The trade was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
The Nets are starting a major rebuild under new general manager Sean Marks and new coach Kenny Atkinson, but had no first-round pick in Thursday night’s draft. The Celtics hold the Nets’ pick, No. 3 overall, as Brooklyn (21-61 last season) continues to pay for the 2013 trade that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to New York. Picking up a first-round draft pick gives the Nets another asset to either use for their roster or peddle in trade offers going forward.
The Nets also received a future second-round pick from the Pacers.
Young, who averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds with the Nets last season, signed a four-year, $50 million deal last summer. Marks had said the 28-year-old was part of the team’s plans for the upcoming season.
Instead, he flipped Young to get back into the first round. The Nets are still on the hook with the Celtics for the next two seasons. Next year Boston has the right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn and the Celtics own the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder, too.
The Nets also hold the 55th overall selection in Thursday’s draft. The Pacers still have a second-rounder, No. 50 overall.AlertMe