Kevin Durant confident that Nets' 'third star' can be Caris LeVert

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Ian Begley
·4 min read
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Caris LeVert drives to the basket against Kyle Lowry
Caris LeVert drives to the basket against Kyle Lowry

When we get to the NBA offseason, there will be plenty of speculation about the Nets adding an established star to complement Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Based on Durant’s comments in recent interviews, it seems like he feels that Brooklyn already has the best complementary player on the roster: Caris LeVert.

“I think Caris is that perfect guy for us to, any given night he can lead us in scoring or lead us in assists or he can control the offense or we can go to him in the post in a matchup,” Durant said last week on the Old Man & The Three podcast. “I feel like he has the tools to do everything on the basketball court. On our team, we play unselfishly, and we’ve got guys that can play off the basketball so on any given night anybody can be the star.”

Durant was asked on the podcast if LeVert could be the "third star" for the Nets next season.

“For sure,” he said.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP also downplayed the idea that teams currently have three stars on the same roster.

It will be interesting to see how GM Sean Marks and the Nets approach this offseason. There has been -- and will be -- speculation that they will try to trade for a top player. Durant, it’s worth noting, has been effusive in his praise of LeVert. Based on that, it seem fair to assume that Brooklyn is unlikely to include LeVert in any trade package for an established star.

In addition to explaining again why he chose to sign with the Nets over the Knicks, Durant touched on a few other Nets topics in the podcast. The entire interview is worth your time if you are interested in Durant, the Nets or the NBA.

Here are a few Net-related highlights of Durant’s interview:

On Steve Nash

“Any time a former player gets a job as a coach in the league, I’m excited. Because their level of knowledge for the game runs deep, especially, (because they have experienced) it on the floor. His insight for the game, his communication, how he communicates the game of basketball, is definitely going to help me as a player develop and it’s going to help the rest of our team.”

Durant has a strong relationship with Nash, as documented here. So it’s not a surprise at all that Durant would be excited to play for Nash (he almost assuredly approved of the hire before it was made).

Here’s Durant on his relationship with Nash:

“Our relationship started from him playing and me admiring him as a player. And then playing against him and competing against him and then finally getting a chance to work out with Steve – seven or eight years ago. (I) understood how his mind works for the game and every time I was in the gym with him I was like a sponge. I’m looking forward to this, man. I always feel like I’m a student of the game and (Nash, as) somebody who has experienced so much and played in different eras, I’m looking forward to him teaching me some more things about it as well.”

On playing with Kyrie Irving

“Just his IQ for the game. He can score from any angle on the floor. I think that will open it up for everybody on our team. When you’ve got multiple guys who can score from all three levels, it makes your whole team better. So I’m excited to see how we work off of each other. Playing Team USA and All Star games gave me a little glimpse of what can happen but I’m looking forward to the full training camp and the full season.”

Durant and Irving will share a court for the first time next season in Brooklyn. Durant missed last season following an Achilles tear. Irving was in and out of the lineup; his season was cut short by a shoulder ailment.

Players Durant has been watching

Durant was asked about the players he’s watched this season while rehabbing his injury. He mentioned DeVonte Graham, Kristaps Porzingis and Zach LaVine.

Durant said LaVine "has star potential." On Porzingis, the ex-Knick, Durant said, "Watching him in the bubble when he was healthy, it was incredible. A guy who can shoot the ball so quick and with such accuracy and move that way. He plays with toughness; a lot of people don’t say that but I see that he plays with some toughness and he wants to play a little bit stronger and harder.”