The trade that sent Caris LeVert to the Pacers may have saved his life.
Indiana announced Tuesday that LeVert is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing successful surgery to treat renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney. The Pacers said no further treatment is necessary, and the 26-year-old will be out indefinitely.
LeVert, who spent four-plus seasons in Brooklyn to start his NBA career, landed in Indiana as part of the blockbuster James Harden trade. A standard team physical and medical tests revealed a mass on LeVert’s kidney before the deal was finalized, and the mass turned out to be cancerous.
Prior to his surgery, LeVert said he was “humbled to know that this trade could have possibly saved me in the long run.”
“A lot of things creeped through my mind,” LeVert told reporters last week. “I didn’t really know what was going on, I didn’t know the next steps, I didn’t know if the trade was going to go through. But obviously it did and I think that’s a testament to this organization. Not only how good of people they are, but how much they believe in me and my game. That was huge for me to see that.”
In 12 games with the Nets this season, LeVert averaged 18.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. When he is available to play, LeVert will be expected to provide a scoring punch for the Pacers and fill the void left behind by Victor Oladipo, who is now a member of the Rockets. The current focus, though, is allowing LeVert’s body to heal following the health scare.
“For me, the most important thing is to get my body healthy and make sure I live a long life,” LeVert said. “Before basketball, I think that’s the most important thing, so for me I’m not really looking at [the basketball] side of things. Obviously, I want to play as soon as possible. I’m a competitor, I love the game, but for me I think making sure I’m good health-wise is most important right now.”