Caris LeVert is staying with the Brooklyn Nets on a three-year, $52.5 million extension according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He posted about his excitement over the new deal on Twitter shortly after it was reported.
In conjunction with the final year on his rookie contract, this new deal will keep LeVert with the Nets through the 2022-23 season, aligning his free agency with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan four summers from now.
With those three in place, signing LeVert to an extension now was crucial. Irving and Durant will make close to their maximums on their new deals, and Jordan will average nearly $10 million per season on his. A pricey contract for LeVert would have vaulted them into luxury tax territory before even considering new deals for role players such as Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris.
That contract almost certainly would have come in free agency next season, as there are no established superstars on the unrestricted market. That would have made restricted free agents such as LeVert and Pascal Siakam the summer's top prizes. Assuming he had stayed healthy, LeVert likely would have received an offer that would have dwarfed what he ultimately agreed to.
But given those health risks, LeVert decided to play it safe. At Michigan, he suffered multiple foot fractures, and he played only 40 games last season after suffering yet another leg injury. He was sensational prior to that last injury, though, averaging 18.4 points per game on relatively efficient shooting numbers. He has never been particularly strong from behind the arc, but LeVert can create his own shot and finishes extremely well at the basket. That might not make him an ideal fit on a team with multiple superstars, but given his production last season, the Nets are making a wise bet on a strong young talent.
Doing so follows a recent trend on Brooklyn's part of extending players early on at cheaper prices. They signed Spencer Dinwiddie to a three-year, $34 million deal last season that paid off in spades as he played a big role in recruiting Irving to the Nets. This strategy would also indicate that the Nets will try to get third-year forward Taurean Prince, acquired from the Atlanta Hawks in a trade earlier this offseason, signed to an extension prior to October's deadline as well.
But LeVert was the priority, and rightfully so. He was a key part of Brooklyn's surprising playoff run last season, and with this new deal, he will have a key role in launching this team into contention moving forward.