With widespread reports of their three biggest stars on the trade block, everyone expected activity from the Indiana Pacers at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline. Since everyone expected it, it came as no surprise that the squad traded away two of the three players they put on the block earlier in the season. Myles Turner is the only player left on the roster of the Turner-Caris LeVert-Domantas Sabonis core that clearly did not work for the Pacers executives. While most praised Indiana for their deals, not getting enough out of the LeVert deal will prove to be Pacers’ biggest mistake at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline.

Pacers’ biggest NBA Trade Deadline mistake

To start it off, the Domantas Sabonis deal was a complete robbery of the Sacramento Kings. The Kings gave up Tristan Thompson, Buddy Hield, and Tyrese Haliburton in the deal to get the Lithuanian. Now, obviously, Sabonis is a great player and a two-time All-Star, but the Pacers getting Tyrese Haliburton is fantastic. He was the best guard in the Kings lineup, with many holding him as better than De'Aaron Fox. The entire trade was great for the Pacers who got a ton of future security in the Haliburton-Duarte backcourt. Both are huge for guards, have great potential, and should work great together.

Of course, it is a whole other story for Caris LeVert, who was sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ricky Rubio, a first-round pick, and a second-round selection. Rubio is an expiring deal and is ruled out for the season with a torn ACL. Even if he was not, this is a deal that is not terrible per se, but it could have been so much more. LeVert is not an All-Star caliber player, like Sabonis, but he can be an excellent complementary guard. Now, he is going to fulfill the potent Cavaliers lineup, while the Pacers will hope that the Cavs' 2022 first-rounder pans out to something great.

With the form of the Cavs, it is hard to believe that the Pacers will get a ton of value there. Of course, all first-round picks have some value, that is without a doubt. Right now, however, the Cavs 2022 pick is projected to be around the 24th spot, which is the end of the first round. There is also one more conditional second-round selection in 2023, but their value is also minuscule. The worst thing about this trade is that the Pacers killed their own leverage, but still could have gotten a lot more out of LeVert.

As said in the beginning, reports at the start of the season suggested that the Pacers are looking to trade all three of the aforementioned players. LeVert was on that list and it surprised many. He is still just 27 and while he had some injury issues, it did not stop him from averaging a cool 18.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Additionally, it was part of the solid Pacers offense, which was not the reason why they were losing so many games in the early section of the season.

Also, a point to consider would be what the Pacers got out of Victor Oladipo. At a point in time, the Oladipo-Sabonis duo was supposed to be the future of the Pacers, together with Malcolm Brogdon and TJ Warren. Injuries stopped them from being at their fullest, but still, the Pacers got a ton of value from Oladipo, who was dealing with a ton of health issues, getting LeVert from the Nets in that blockbuster James Harden deal. LeVert was the only spoil from that trade for the Pacers and it was understood that, even though LeVert came in with a kidney issue and did not debut for the Pacers for a while, he would be there to replace the two-time All-Star. Yet, a bit more than a year since flipping their injury-ridden All-Star to LeVert, he was turned into an expiring deal and a very late first-rounder.

With all these things considered, the Pacers probably jumped on the first available deal, which is not the way to go. LeVert is still young, has great numbers, and still has two more years on his deal, bringing stability to the Cavaliers that they will have him available for at least two seasons. Unfortunately, while the Sabonis deal went great, the Pacers were in a major rush, probably unnecessarily so, to get rid of LeVert and undersold him to the first bidder. If the Cavs' first-rounder does not pan out to something great, it feels like this Caris LeVert deal will be the Pacers' biggest mistake at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline.