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Caris LeVert ready for bigger role as backcourt logjam breaks

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Caris LeVert knows expectations for him are high this season. The Nets have cleared up a lot of the logjam in the backcourt, trading Jeremy Lin and Isaiah Whitehead and dumping Nik Stauskas and two-way Milton Doyle.

There are still a lot of young and similarly talented players on the Brooklyn roster, with D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, Joe Harris and newbies Shabazz Napier and Dzanan Musa all looking for minutes.

“We’ve still got a young core, but we added some great pieces. … We’ve got a lot of guys who can play a lot of positions, can play together. That’s a good problem to have,” LeVert told reporters Monday. He spoke in Fort Greene where the Nets were rolling out the first of 2,000 black-and-white basketballs at city parks.

“I think that’s the beauty in everything, though,” LeVert offered when asked about the fight for minutes.

LeVert said he was disappointed that Jeremy Lin won’t be returning. By trading Lin and Whitehead, the Nets were ultimately after a week of trades able to secure four draft picks, including a first, Kenneth Faried, Jared Dudley and the draft rights to a 21-year-old French guard.

“Jeremy was like a big brother to me, he still is, and Isaiah as well. It’s not cool to lose guys like that. It’s a business and it happens. But, that doesn’t change our relationship at all.”

LeVert also tried to discourage the impression that he’s injury-prone, something that the Nets front office worries about, if just a bit.

“A lot of people say I had a lot of injuries last year, but I only missed like 10 games and five of those were the concussion, so I feel like I was pretty healthy,” said LeVert, adding he wasn’t nursing any injury during summer league, is fully healthy and hopes to stay that way. “At this level everybody’s really good. That’s what sets people apart. … It’s definitely one of my goals going forward.”

LeVert did wind up averaging 12.1 points, 4.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 71 games, only 10 of them starts. The 23-year-old’s potential has attracted interest from other NBA teams, with rival GM’s offering the Nets high picks in both of the last two drafts.

“For me it’s just staying healthy and continue to maximize my potential. I’m not really worried about anybody else but myself, honestly,” LeVert said. “I’m not sure numbers-wise [what my goals are], but just going out there and feeling like myself every game and doing whatever I need to do.”