With two months left until the 2022 playoffs, things are already heating up for the Cavaliers. Just a week away from the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline, the team made its move to strengthen its chances for a playoff spot this season. In a deal with the Indiana Pacers, the Cavs have acquired Caris LeVert in exchange for Ricky Rubio.
The Cavs have quickly been gaining ground this season, now sitting at 33-21 after rallying from a 20-point deficit following their recent victory against the Indiana Pacers. But although the Ohio-based team currently ranks third in defense, allowing opponents a league-low shooting percentage of 58.5, its offense rating has long needed improvement. The Cavs currently rank 19th in the league and need to bolster their offensive performance in order to compete in the playoffs this season. The team acquired point guard Rajon Rondo after losing Rubio to a season-ending knee injury but have reportedly always hoped to add LeVert to their team.
After winning just 22 games last season, the Cavs have moved into playoff position and have been intensively seeking ways to boost their backcourt. And it appears that 27-year-old LeVert, who averaged 18.7 points and 4.4 assists for the Pacers, just might do the trick. “He can help put the ball in the hole,” said Cavs guard Rajon Rondo. “He can erupt for 40 or 50 a night.” In the trade, Cleveland also received a second-round pick (via Miami) and gave Indiana a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick via Houston, and a 2027 second-round pick via Utah.
"We are very excited to add a dynamic young player of this caliber and experience," Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said in a statement following the deal, adding that he "[looks] forward to seeing what type of impact [LeVert] can make on this roster." Altman also sent his best wishes to Ricky Rubio, saying he has been "the consummate professional and his leadership both on and off the court was invaluable, and we respect everything he brought to this franchise." Will LeVert help push the Cavs to the top of the Eastern Conference this year? Guess we'll have to wait and find out.