Transferring colleges, filing for bankruptcy, CTRL + Z, and salary dumps. We’re lucky that life offers us many methods through which we can correct our mistakes.
Just a year ago, the Brooklyn Nets decided to ruin Portland’s summer and to eat up all its cap space by giving Allen Crabbe an offer sheet worth nearly $75 million over four years. At the time, the Blazers felt like they had to retain Crabbe, an upstart guard who could shoot well from deep. But one offseason later, they found themselves with one of the 10 highest payrolls in the league without being one of the 10 best teams. Being stuck on the mediocrity treadmill without flexibility in a cutthroat Western Conference is not ideal.
But getting rid of bad, large contracts isn’t easy … unless you’re talking to Sean Marks and the Nets. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Brooklyn is trading for Crabbe, taking the bad contract off of the Blazers’ hands, and sending away Andrew Nicholson, who will reportedly be waived.
Portland GM Neil Olshey seems to have pounced on the opportunity to right his wrong and get out from underneath Crabbe’s contract, saving the Blazers a whopping $43.9 million in luxury tax penalties without giving up a draft pick.
But this is a salary dump that could have implications further in the future. The transaction is more than a money-saver. It also gives Portland the flexibility to get involved in blockbuster deals. Depending on the order of operations, Portland could now set itself up to be a part of a larger deal that may involve other available players (cough, cough Carmelo Anthony). Timing the trade of Crabbe just right alongside other moves could allow Portland to act as a facilitator and potentially benefit from being in a three-team trade, if that’s what Olshey is aiming at with this move. The Blazers are one of the few teams in the West that want to contend, but haven’t made a move this offseason. Part of that was due to their cap situation, but now they have a little bit more room to work with. Earlier this week, former Blazers broadcaster Mike Rice tweeted that the Blazers could be part of a three-team deal involving Melo, the Rockets, and the Knicks. Though they are still over the cap and can’t presently take back Ryan Anderson from the Rockets, for example, we might have just gotten one step closer to ending our long national nightmare, even if Kyrie Irving is making sure that another is just beginning.
For the Nets, adding Crabbe for the hefty price tag of around $19 million a year is surely no delight. But Brooklyn isn’t looking at the near future; its long-term asset preferences remain the same: find young players with upside, no matter how bad the contract. Crabbe shot 44 percent from 3 last season on nearly four attempts per game, but failed to do much of anything else. At the very least, he’ll round out the Nets’ eclectic guard rotation alongside Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell. Crabbe is also reportedly waiving the trade kicker in his contract (the trade kicker that the Nets inserted into the offer sheet last summer!), which saves Brooklyn $5.7 million.
On the surface, this is a minor deal, but one that could have a ripple effect not just in Portland or Brooklyn but around the league if it enables a bigger move. But that’s still a few steps away. The only certainty here is that the Nets are continuing their rebuild by staying on-brand, while the Blazers are simply looking to stay afloat financially. Both sides traded well.