Allen Crabbe

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Celtics, Crabbe, Raptors

Kyrie Irving won’t be sidelined long by a facial fracture he suffered Friday night, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. Irving is doubtful for Sunday’s game, the Celtics announced today, but he plans to get a facemask and resume playing as soon as possible. Sources tell Charania that Irving should need the mask for about two weeks.

The injury, which is being called minor, occurred early in Friday’s game when Irving was accidentally elbowed in the face by teammate Aron Baynes. Irving has emerged as an early MVP candidate, posting 20.3 points and 5.2 assists per night while helping the Celtics rise to a league-best 11-2 despite the loss of Gordon Hayward.

There’s more news from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Unexpected contributions from several players have helped the Celtics remain successful after the loss of Hayward, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Rookie Jayson Tatum and second-year player Jaylen Brown have taken on more responsibility, while Terry Rozier, Shane Larkin and Daniel Theis have become valuable role players. “We’ve been preaching next man up forever,” Rozier told Chris Forsberg of ESPN. “Lately, our team is dropping like flies. You just gotta be ready. Shane did a great job, stepping up, coming in [Friday]. Like you said, you just never know in this league when your number is going to be called. We did a good job handling that.”
  • Nets guard Allen Crabbe didn’t hide his nostalgia for Portland when he returned to the city Friday for the first time since a July trade, relays Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Crabbe spent four seasons with the Trail Blazers before the deal and says he still has fond feelings for the organization. However, he believes he has a greater opportunity to become a full-time player in Brooklyn. “It’s everything an NBA player would want,” Crabbe said. “To be a key piece to a team. I don’t think it was going to happen [in Portland].”
  • Changes in philosophy are resulting in fewer shots for Raptors stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, notes Scott Stinson of The National Post. Toronto has been emphasizing ball movement and 3-point shooting, resulting in three fewer shots and three fewer points per game for DeRozan and four fewer shots and nearly 10 fewer points for Lowry.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Morris, Crabbe, Russell

The Celtics remain interested in Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, but won’t give up a first-round pick to get him, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston views the third-year center as more of a project than an immediate contributor and is reluctant to part with a significant asset.

Okafor has been on the market for more than a year, but his fate became obvious when the Sixers decided this week not to pick up his option for 2018/19. Washburn contends Philadelphia has let Okafor’s market value slip by not playing him. He has appeared in just one game this season.

Washburn compliments Okafor for the way he has handled a difficult situation and says the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft has kept himself in good shape despite the lack of playing time. The Bucks, Cavaliers, Spurs and Nuggets also have interest in Okafor, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops, but so far no one is willing to meet the Sixers‘ asking price.

There’s more this morning from the Atlantic Division:

  • Marcus Morris made an immediate impact Friday in his first game for the Celtics, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. After being slowed by soreness in his left knee, Morris debuted with nine points and four rebounds in a win over the Thunder, and his defense on Carmelo Anthony helped Boston overcome a large deficit.
  • Allen Crabbe posted his best game since joining the Nets with 25 points Friday against the Lakers, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The fifth-year swingman was acquired from the Trail Blazers in a July trade to boost Brooklyn’s offense, but has started the season in a shooting slump, hitting just 15 of 43 from 3-point range before Friday night. “I think he’s finding his rhythm. He’s going to get better and better,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “He was struggling because he missed a fair amount of time at training camp. I [don’t] think he was physically at his peak. You’ll see him get better as the season goes on.”
  • Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell has responded to comments from Lakers president Magic Johnson suggesting he wasn’t a leader during his time in Los Angeles, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“I would say it ruffled a few feathers,” said Russell, who spent two seasons in L.A. after being the second pick in the 2015 draft. “But you control what you can control. He’s in a position to say what he wants, so I just try to do what I can do at the end of the day.”

Atlantic Rumors: Beasley, Hayward, Crabbe, Embiid

A pair of free-agent acquisitions, forward Michael Beasley and point guard Ramon Sessions, are among the players who have fallen out of the Knicks’ rotation, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Beasley didn’t play for the first time this season in the Knicks’ win over the Cavaliers on Sunday while Sessions, who started the first three games, didn’t play for the second straight game. Beasley signed a one-year, $2.1MM deal with New York and Sessions inked a one-year, $2.3MM contract this summer. Big man Willy Hernangomez has also fallen out of coach Jeff Hornacek’s current rotation and combo guard Ron Baker was inactive for the second straight game, Berman adds.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics are gradually adjusting to the loss of Gordon Hayward, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Hayward’s horrific leg injury in the season opener left the team reeling but it has perked up over the past week, winning four straight heading into Monday’s game against the Spurs. “I think we’re getting used to that reality to what we have in front of us,” power forward Al Horford told Bulpett. “It’s a hard blow, but then as the days go on you kind of realize that this is our reality, this is what we have, and we need to make the most of it with what’s here right now.”
  • The Nets traded for shooting guard Allen Crabbe‘s huge contract but he hasn’t taken a lot of shots in the early going, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily.com notes. Crabbe, who is the second year of a four-year, $74.8MM deal, was acquired from the Trail Blazers in July. Thus far, he’s averaging 10.6 PPG and taking an average of 9.4 shots per game. However, coach Kenny Atkinson told Puccio and other media members that he’s not worried about getting Crabbe more involved.  “We’re not a ‘let’s give it to Allen and clear out and let him go one-on-one,’” Atkinson said. “It’s a team concept. That means everything has to be in sync, we have to run to our spots, screen better, cut better.”
  • Joel Embiid, who signed a max extension with the Sixers earlier this month, wants to play in Philadelphia the remainder of this career, Molly Sullivan of NBCSPhilly.com tweets. “I want to be Kobe Bryant. I want to be Tim Duncan. I want to be Dirk Nowitzki,” Embiid told Sullivan.

Nets Notes: Ownership, Crabbe, Outlook, Booker

Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of The New York Post are back with another update on the potential Nets sale, reporting that prospective bidders for the franchise have been pushing owner Mikhail Prokhorov to sell a controlling interest in the team. Prokhorov is reportedly interested in selling a 49% stake with a path for a new minority owner to purchase a controlling interest within three years, but potential buyers are hoping to gain control of the club immediately.

“They’re asking, but I don’t think he’s giving in,” one source close to the discussions tells Kosman and Lewis. However, another source suggested that he wouldn’t be shocked if Prokhorov surrenders full control immediately.

While it remains to be seen what a sale will look like, a deal could be announced in the coming days or weeks, sources tell The Post. According to Kosman and Lewis, at least two “New York financial titans” are believed to be among the potential suitors, along with a Texas-based group that lost the bidding for the Rockets. Former Knicks and MSG president Dave Checketts is also rumored to be involved in a group of prospective buyers, sources tell The Post.

Here’s more on the Nets, as we wait to see how the sale process will play out:

New York Notes: Crabbe, Starting Lineups, NBA Draft

Newest Nets acquisition Allen Crabbe was limited during the preseason due to an ankle injury. Crabbe missed the first two preseason contests and was relegated to coming off the bench in the final two games. Head coach Kenny Atkinson wants to get Crabbe acclimated to the lineup but is also pleased with how Brooklyn’s highest-paid player has progressed, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

“We still have to integrate Allen Crabbe a little bit. He’s obviously a little behind because he’s been out,” Atkinson said. “We got a good practice in [Friday] and he got a lot of reps. For him it’s just a matter of time. Overall [I’m] pleased.”

Crabbe, 26, had a productive season off the Trail Blazers’ bench last season, averaging 10.7 PPG across 79 games in Portland. Crabbe’s journey to Brooklyn was delayed by one year as the Nets originally issued him an offer sheet that the Trail Blazers matched. Now that he’s in a revamped culture with a revamped roster in Brooklyn, Crabbe’s health will be key to the team’s development.

Below you can check out other news surrounding New York’s two basketball teams:

  • Without a clear defensive big man on the Nets roster, playing with a smaller roster on the floor could spell disaster for the young Brooklyn squad, Lewis writes in a separate story.
  • A knee injury to 19-year-old Frenchman Frank Ntilikina is making the Knicks‘ opening night lineup clearer, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Veteran Ramon Sessions will be the likely starting point guard with Tim Hardaway Jr. (shooting guard)  and Courtney Lee (small forward) rounding out the backcourt. Kristaps Porzingis has dealt with his own injury-riddled preseason but should start the season opener in Oklahoma City with Enes Kanter — acquired from the Thunder for Carmelo Anthony — as the center.
  • The Knicks are not expected to contend in 2017/18 so the team should consider its possible options in the 2018 NBA Draft when deciding on plans for this season, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News opinesMichael Porter Jr., Marvin Bagley III and Luka Dončić will be three highly sought-after targets in next year’s draft. A lowly Knicks team could set its sights on tanking this season in order to secure a draft pick high enough to select one of those youngsters next season.

Atlantic Notes: Hernangomez, Dinwiddie, McKinnie

The Knicks have a glut of centers on their roster and this season could go a long way toward figuring out who their big man of the future might be. A solid summer with Spain’s national team has helped 23-year-old Willy Hernangomez shore up his case for the position, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Hernangomez will presumably compete with Enes Kanter for the Knicks’ starting gig but teammates Kyle O’Quinn and Joakim Noah have value in their own ways as well. The Spanish import and close friend of franchise star Kristaps Porzingis, will look to build upon a rookie season in which he averaged 8.2 points and 7.0 boards in just 18.4 minutes per game.

Hernangomez says that he learned a lot from brothers Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol this summer, things that should serve him well as opponents learn more about him after he seemingly came out of nowhere in 2016/17. Whether or not that’s enough to convince the team to commit to him as their center of the future remains to be seen.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Heading into his fourth season and second with the Nets, second-round pick Spencer Dinwiddie has slowly started to make a name for himself. Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson sees what the guard is capable of and wants to get him more minutes in 2017/18. “As well as he is developing, I’m really excited about him,” Atkinson told Alex Squadron of the New York Post. “I think he’s going to have a really good year.”
  • In his first season with the Raptors, G League standout Alfonzo McKinnie has been a revelation, Mike Gardner of the Toronto Sun writes. The forward has shown versatility, length and an ability to knock down three-pointers that the club could use.
  • Recently acquired forward Allen Crabbe finally made his debut for the Nets. As Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes, Brooklyn had been looking to bring Crabbe aboard for a while now, stretching all the way back to last offseason.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, McDermott, Crabbe, Fultz

The last remnants of the Phil JacksonCarmelo Anthony feud were removed from New York with Anthony’s trade to Oklahoma City, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. Coach Jeff Hornacek calls the atmosphere “a new beginning,” and others expressed relief that the Anthony situation was resolved before the start of training camp. “Part of my job is to try to add some sense of calmness to what had been a little bit of a crazy environment that we’ve been going through,” said team president Steve Mills.

Now that the chaos that hung over the organization last season is gone, the Knicks must work to establish a new team identity. That figures to be built around third-year center Kristaps Porzingis, and Mills expressed confidence that the team can “make him feel good about being a Knick and make him feel good about the environment here.” That needs to happen quickly as Porzingis will be eligible for a long-term extension next summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Doug McDermott, who was acquired from the Thunder in the Anthony deal, will welcome a fresh opportunity in New York, his father, Creighton coach Greg McDermott, told Marc Berman of The New York Post. The 11th pick in the 2014 draft, the younger McDermott developed into a reliable reserve in Chicago, but saw his playing time cut after a deadline-day trade sent him to Oklahoma City. Greg McDermott said the adjustment wasn’t easy for his son. “It was difficult going into situation where you have to learn things on the fly,” he said. “Not only does the player have to learn the system and style, the coach has to learn about a player’s strengths and how best be utilized. It’s a hard to do at the end of February.”
  • The Nets plan to give Allen Crabbe whatever time he needs to recover from a sprained ankle, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Crabbe was in a walking boot Thursday, but X-rays on the ankle turned out negative. With a revamped roster, Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson wants all of his players on the court to start building chemistry, but he understands the need to be cautious. “You’ve got to think 82 games. Honestly this is a setback,’’ Atkinson said. “Again, lack of continuity. You want to see him with different lineups … especially with a new player. So we’ll do the best we can showing him stuff. But it’s not the same.
  • Sixers rookie point guard Markelle Fultz won’t have to take on as much responsibility right away as Michael Carter-Williams did four seasons ago, according to Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia has more talent and experience on its roster now to support Fultz as he gets accustomed to the rigors of NBA life.

Atlantic Notes: Fultz, Crabbe, Ujiri

Markelle Fultz, the first overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, has brought enthusiasm to Philadelphia, a city that has already been told to trust the process. The Washington product now joins a Sixers team that enters 2017/18 with a hopefully healthy duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid alongside veteran acquisition J.J. Redick ready to compete.

In Fultz’s mind, Philadelphia will not just be a fun team, it will be a competitive one, as the first overall pick said to CSNPhilly from Sixers Day Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy.

“We’re going to be in the playoffs this year, and I think everybody is willing to put forth their best effort and listen to the coaches and listen to the bench. We’ve got to just do whatever it takes to get there,” Fultz said. “That’s practicing even harder, that’s doing extra work in the gym by ourselves, I mean, we’re going to do whatever it takes.” 

Fultz, 19, also addressed several other topics, including his rehab from an ankle injury he suffered at the onset of the Las Vegas Summer League; LeBron James possibly joining the Sixers next season in free agency; and his relationship with fellow rookie and top two draft pick, Lonzo Ball.

Below are additional notes around the Atlantic Division:

  • A year after Trail Blazers matched the Nets‘ offer sheet for then-restricted free agent Allen Crabbe, the guard is now a part of the Brooklyn roster, Ethan Sears of the New York Post writes. Now, in an offseason where the Nets have pulled off calculated trades, Crabbe joins the team a year later and he expressed confidence in his new team at an introductory presser Thursday.
  • Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri spoke to Michael Lee of The Vertical to cover this year’s offseason for the team. Ujiri, who was mentioned as a possible GM candidate for the Knicks, proclaimed his team’s focus is to beat LeBron James and he discussed new Cavaliers GM Koby Altman‘s tough predicament.

Nets Acquire Allen Crabbe From Blazers

A year after aggressively pursuing shooting guard Allen Crabbe as a restricted free agent, the Nets have landed their man. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), the Trail Blazers are trading Crabbe to Brooklyn in exchange for forward Andrew Nicholson. Upon acquiring Nicholson, Portland will waive him and stretch his contract, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter).Allen Crabbe vertical

When Crabbe reached restricted free agency in 2016, he was one of a handful of players to sign an offer sheet with the Nets. That deal, worth nearly $75MM over four years, looked like an awfully steep price to pay for a player with 17 career starts to his name. However, the Blazers thwarted Brooklyn’s attempts to poach Crabbe, matching the Nets’ offer sheet and bringing him back to Portland.

A year later, that decision to match Crabbe’s deal – while retaining other RFAs and adding Evan Turner – looks like it may have been a mistake. The Trail Blazers were in position to pay a huge tax penalty in 2018 if team salary remained as high as it was, and dumping a contract or two appeared to be an inevitability. By swapping Crabbe for Nicholson and stretching the $19MM+ left on Nicholson’s contract over the next seven seasons, the Blazers will clear approximately $16.5MM from their 2017/18 cap, ending up only about $3MM above the tax threshold.

It remains to be seen if the Blazers have another move up their sleeves — the club has been linked to Carmelo Anthony, despite Carmelo’s apparent unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal to Portland. Even if no second deal is coming though, the Blazers should be happy with this trade from a financial perspective. It will allow the club to shed more than $50MM in total projected salary and tax penalties.

From the Nets’ perspective, the deal will allow them to land a player they loved at a slightly lesser cost, albeit a year after they had hoped to acquire him. Once the Blazers matched Crabbe’s offer sheet last July, he was ineligible to be traded to Brooklyn for a full year, but once those 365 days passed, it made sense for the two teams to engage on trade discussions.

By sending out Nicholson in the swap, the Nets appear to have the cap room necessary to absorb Crabbe’s salary without having to make any corresponding roster moves. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Crabbe also waived his trade kicker, making things a little simpler for both teams. That decision will cost the 25-year-old some money, but he’ll have a chance to assume a larger role in Brooklyn than he had in Portland.

In 79 games last season for the Blazers, Crabbe set new career bests with 10.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, a .468 FG%, and a .444 3PT%. While it remains to be seen how Brooklyn’s starting lineup will shake out, Crabbe figures to see plenty of minutes alongside D’Angelo Russell in a new-look Nets backcourt.

The Blazers will generate a trade exception worth $12,969,502 in the deal. That figures represents the difference between Crabbe’s and Nicholson’s salaries for 2017/18.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Nurkic, Murray, Wolves

The Trail Blazers are in a tough spot heading into this year’s free agency period, with more than $133MM in guaranteed salaries on their 2017/18 cap, not to mention cap holds for a pair of first-round picks. However, as Joe Freeman of The Oregonian details, Neil Olshey continues to explore ways to make his team better, even if his financial flexibility is virtually non-existent.

“We’re never content with the roster,” said the Trail Blazers’ president of basketball operations. “Every day we wake up looking to find ways to improve the roster, to accelerate what we’ve been trying to do the last couple of years and make the team more competitive. We’re incredibly pleased with what we were able to accomplish in the draft with both of these guys and they are going to contribute. But until we get to October and training camp starts, the roster always is in a state of flux and we’re always looking to upgrade and we’re always looking to accelerate what we’ve been trying to build the last couple of years.”

While Olshey doesn’t intend to stand pat in July, he also cautioned against pursuing “quick fixes,” stressing that the Trail Blazers front office wants to build a team capable of long-term success, rather than pushing all its chips into the middle.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

  • Jusuf Nurkic continues to recover from a broken leg, but the Trail Blazers expect him to be healthy and ready to go by the time training camp begins in September, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. As Richman notes, the franchise is also counting on Ed Davis (torn labrum) and Allen Crabbe (foot surgery) to be back for training camp.
  • Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post has a Nuggets injury update, writing that Jamal Murray played in a two-on-two game on Tuesday. Murray, who underwent surgeries to repair core muscle-related injuries in April, “thinks he’s ready to go now,” according to GM Tim Connelly. The 2016 lottery pick is expected to be medically cleared well before training camp begins.
  • Appearing on The Scoop podcast with Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that the Bulls initiated talks related to Jimmy Butler, and added that the Wolves wouldn’t have made the deal if Chicago hadn’t included the No. 16 pick.
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