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Pacers’ Caris LeVert admits James Harden trade might have saved his life

Caris LeVert, James Harden, Pacers trade

Caris LeVert did not want to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Indiana Pacers.

It turns out, the unwelcome trade may have saved his life.

LeVert was included in the four-team blockbuster that shipped James Harden to Brooklyn and LeVert to Indiana—by way of the Houston Rockets, in exchange for Victor Oladipo—forcing the 26-year-old to complete a physical in order to finalize the deal.

During the examination, an MRI discovered a small mass on his left kidney, immediately halting LeVert’s season and indefinitely postponing his Indiana debut.

LeVert is grateful for the change of scenery in the wake of his diagnosis. Had the trade not occurred, he would not have taken a physical examination until training camp.

“It’s definitely been a crazy couple days and it’s gonna be a crazy recovery,” LeVert said in his introductory press conference. “…This trade could’ve possibly saved me in the long run.”

LeVert said he is waiting to hear whether the mass is cancerous or not and should have more information in a week. He noted that he was feeling “100 percent” healthy prior to the trade.

On Monday, Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard acknowledged that LeVert would “probably” undergo surgery. While there isn’t a definitive timetable for his return, Pritchard was optimistic that the talented wing could potentially resume basketball activities in six-to-eight weeks.

“We are grateful for their extreme thoroughness during the physical process and I am looking forward to joining the team and being part of this great organization as soon as possible,” LeVert said in a statement on Saturday.

Prior to the trade, LeVert was averaging 18.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game as a versatile, playmaking Sixth Man for Brooklyn.