SSN: The Trade That Saved Caris LeVert’s Life

Evan Miller

The story starts with an NBA superstar complaining about their team losing and demanding a trade to a team with two superstars on it already. It ends with a player having life-saving surgery to remove cancer on his left kidney.

Former Houston Rockets guard James Harden wasn’t happy with the current situation on the team which he had spent eight seasons. Also in the same situation was former Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. While Oladipo never explicitly stated that he wanted out of Indiana, the rumor mill swirled with the Indiana University product landing in a variety of big markets. None of the rumors had Oladipo landing in Harden’s shoes in Houston.

This blockbuster deal included four teams: Houston, Indiana, Brooklyn, and Cleveland. While the biggest parts of this trade may have been the changes in scenery for Harden, going from south Texas to a New York borough, and Oladipo, who went from the Indiana cornfields to a bustling Texas city, the storyline of the trade was the 26-year-old guard that was included in the package that took him from Brooklyn to Houston, and finally landing in Indiana. That 26-year-old was Caris LeVert.

While completing his physical to finalize the deal from Houston to Indiana, doctors discovered a mass on LeVert’s left kidney during an MRI. According to ESPN and the Indiana Pacers, LeVert had renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney. The promising young guard underwent successful surgery to remove the mass on January 25 and is expected to make a full recovery.