The Brooklyn Nets were able to extend guard Caris Levert for three-years and $52.5 million. The deal is cheap, allowing the team to remain active in future summer free agency.
Levert was drafted 20th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, a draft class that features rising stars Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray and Pascal Siakam. Levert turned 25 this past week and was eligible for his rookie extension.
The contract is extremely team friendly. The young guard spent most of last season rehabbing a nasty foot injury, which limited him to only 25 starts. In the first 13 games prior to the foot injury, Levert averaged 18.4 points per game, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in only 29.7 minutes of action per game. Remarkable improvement from the previous season.
Levert was an early candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year before the injury. Even with the injury, Levert returned to action and finished the season with strong improvement from last year. His final averages were 13.7 points per game, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
Newly acquired point guard Kyrie Irving has a reliable backcourt mate in Levert, who is a jack-of-all-trades at the shooting guard position. Once forward Kevin Durant returns from injury, the Nets have a team of more-than-capable scorers who can get buckets from any spot on the court.
For Levert, he will be 28 when the contract is up, giving him full flexibility to showcase his talents and exploit his prime years to find a destination and potentially become a max contract player. Playing alongside Irving and Durant will see more mismatches and one-on-one opportunities for the hungry guard.
Levert was the first draft pick by general manager Sean Marks. Together with Kenny Atkinson, the duo has formed a contending team, and are dubbed “Markinson”. Levert is the Nets draftee to receive a second contract in the Markinson era.