Allen Crabbe

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.

Knicks, Nets Have Inquired On Blazers’ Picks

The Trail Blazers are reportedly open to discussing their three first-round picks in trades that would allow them to move salary, and it appears they’ve received interest from a pair of New York clubs. According to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, the Knicks and Nets have inquired about Portland’s first-round picks.

As Deveney details, talks between the Blazers and Knicks are “ongoing,” with New York having asked about some combination of the 15th, 20th, and 26th overall selections. While it’s possible the Knicks could move down from No. 8, it’s more likely that they’d want to pick up a second first-rounder to add to that lottery selection. We heard earlier this month that the Knicks had discussed the possibility of acquiring a second first-round pick in a trade.

Meanwhile, the Nets have also inquired about Portland’s picks, and could be an intriguing trade partner. Allen Crabbe, who has a $19.33MM cap hit for 2017/18, is one potential trade candidate for the Blazers as they look to clear salary, and it was Brooklyn that signed Crabbe to that pricey four-year offer sheet last summer. If the Nets still have interest in Crabbe and are willing to take on his substantial contract and trade kicker, there could be a match there. In that scenario, the two teams would have to wait until after the one-year anniversary of Crabbe’s 2016 signing, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post noted when he explored the subject.

The Blazers currently have more than $133MM in guaranteed salary on their books for 2017/18, and that number would rise further if they use their draft picks and sign those players, which is why the team is open to moving a pick or two to clear some salary and perhaps get out of tax territory. As I noted on Wednesday, Crabbe, Evan Turner ($17.13MM), and Meyers Leonard ($9.9MM) are among the candidates for a salary dump. Maurice Harkless ($9.66MM) could also be on the block, though he’d have a little more value.

Blazers Guard Allen Crabbe Will Have Foot Surgery

Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe will undergo foot surgery on Thursday, the team announced in a press release.

Crabbe needs to have a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot repaired. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, the release adds.

Crabbe is one of the premier sixth men in the league — and one of the more expensive reserves on any team’s roster. In 79 games this past season which includes seven starts, Crabbe averaged 10.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 1.2 APG. His shooting was highly efficient — 48.8% overall and 44.4% from long range.

No timetable was offered by the club for Crabbe’s recovery, though he obviously has nearly five months to get back by training camp. A league source told ESPN’s Chris B. Haynes that Crabbe is expected to be ready by the start of the season (Twitter link).

The Blazers made a huge investment in Crabbe when they matched the Nets’ four-year, $75MM offer sheet last summer after he hit the market as a restricted free agent. He’s due to make $19.33MM next season and $18.5MM in 2018/19. The final year of the deal, in which he’s also scheduled to receive $18.5MM, includes a player option.

Crabbe’s injury situation could make it even more difficult for a team heavily invested in its current roster to make moves this season.

Pacers Rumors: George, Afflalo, Crabbe, Davis

The latest Woj Bomb from Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical is a report suggesting that the Pacers are gauging the trade market for Paul George. Wojnarowski’s story hardly guarantees that George will be on the move in the next 24 hours, but after we heard for most of the season that the Pacers wouldn’t even consider a trade, it now appears that the team is a little more open to the possibility.

With that in mind, here are a few of the latest Pacers-related notes and rumors:

  • George met with Pacers owner Herb Simon in recent days and said he’d love to remain with the Pacers for the long term, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. However, that stance came with a caveat, says Amick — Indiana needs to be capable of contending for a title if George is going to stay. As Amick explains, that’s why the Pacers need to decide very soon whether to be aggressive in fortifying the roster around George or whether to move him and rebuild.
  • The Lakers are considered a potential landing spot for George in free agency in 2018, but Amick writes that L.A. may not want to wait that long. New president of basketball operations Magic Johnson is already in the process of trying to land the Pacers forward, per Amick.
  • Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net confirms (via Twitter) that Magic Johnson plans to call the Pacers about George before the deadline, and the two heads of basketball operations in Indiana and Los Angeles already know one another pretty well. In the view of Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star (via Twitter), the fact that new George rumors have surfaced shortly after Johnson’s hiring in L.A. is “not a coincidence.”
  • Despite the Lakers‘ interest in George, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times and Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter links) downplay the likelihood of the team going all-in for him at this point.
  • If the Pacers don’t move George and look to upgrade their roster, there are a number of options in play for the club. Amick identifies Jahlil Okafor, Arron Afflalo, Allen Crabbe, and Ed Davis as players that Larry Bird has inquired on as the deadline nears. We heard about Indiana’s Okafor talks on Tuesday.

Northwest Notes: Stephenson, Turner, Blazers

Newly acquired Timberwolves guard Lance Stephenson squared off against his former team Friday and Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had nothing but positive things to say about the 26-year-old journeyman, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

We had no problem whatsoever with him,” Gentry said regarding New Orleans’ decision to waive the then-15th man on their roster after a groin injury in November. “As a matter of fact, he probably raised our energy level as much as anyone. I think he’ll be fine. He’s playing for a great [Timberwolves] coach who loves energy and toughness and stuff like that.”

The Pelicans faced criticism at the time for parting ways with Stephenson as he recovered from the long-term injury but did so to free up space on their roster for Archie Goodwin (who has since been waived). Now Stephenson is back at full strength and on a 10-day contract looking to stick in Minnesota with a Timberwolves roster led by head coach Tom Thibodeau.

In two games with the Timberwolves so far, Stephenson has posted 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game. He’ll make $72K with Minnesota over the duration of his 10-day contract, in addition to the $1.2MM he’s owed by the Pelicans.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The news that Trail Blazers swingman Evan Turner will miss 5-6 weeks comes just as the offseason acquisition was starting to find a rhythm in Portland, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Turner’s absence could thrust Allen Crabbe and Moe Harkless into a bigger role defensively where Turner had been checking the opposing team’s most potent perimeter threat. In the same column, Richman also discusses the progress that Al-Farouq Aminu has made on the offensive end since being relegated to the bench.
  • With a 23-31 record, the Trail Blazers remain very much in the hunt for the final Western Conference playoff berth (Denver sits in the eight-seed at 24-29) but TNT analyst Kenny Smith is skeptical that they have enough resources. “I don’t think they have a lot of talent, honestly. I think that’s the problem,” Smith said. Molly Blue of The Oregonian relayed both Smith’s and Charles Barkley‘s reservations about the guard-heavy roster.
  • When budding Nuggets star Nikola Jokic dropped 40 points on the Knicks Friday, he became just the second Denver player to do so in Madison Square Garden, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. The last? David Thompson in 1978,

Magic Notes: Dragic, Crabbe, Vucevic, Harkless

Orlando is among several teams that have contacted the Heat about Goran Dragic, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. The Magic are looking to solidify their point guard position, which belonged to Elfrid Payton when the season began, but was taken over by D.J. Augustin in late November. Dragic still has three years and more than $54MM left on his current contract. He is averaging 19.0 points and 6.5 assists in 32 games this season, but has missed time recently with back problems.

There’s more news today out of Orlando:

  • After losing six of their last seven and dropping to 16-24, the Magic need to act quickly to save their season, writes Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel. Offense has been a problem for Orlando all year, and Schmitz says the team needs to find a scorer who can create his own shot. He suggests Allen Crabbe of the Trail Blazers as a realistic target and suggests offering, possibly with shot-blocking center Bismack Biyombo going to Portland in return.
  • Nikola Vucevic will be back in the starting lineup tonight, with Biyombo coming off the bench, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Vucevic was demoted along with Payton in the November shakeup. Coach Frank Vogel plans to utilize more “small-ball” lineups with Jeff Green moving to power forward and Mario Hezonja back in the rotation as a backup small forward.
  • The Magic made a huge error when they gave up on Maurice Harkless two years ago, Robbins argues in a separate piece. After three disappointing seasons in Orlando, Harkless was traded to Portland in the summer of 2015 in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2020. He was a regular starter for the Blazers during last year’s playoffs and has started all 40 games in which he has appeared this season. “It was a tough situation: a lot of guys trying to figure it out, including the staff and the front office,” Harkless said of his time in Orlando. “It was a unique situation. It was tough. Obviously, it wasn’t going to work out for everybody. I think a change of scenery is what I needed.”

Stein’s Latest: Rockets, Cavaliers, Blazers, Pistons

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein takes a swing at picking the All-Star starters from each conference and passes along some trade rumors in his latest column. He lists four teams that could be active with the deadline less than six weeks away:

  • The Rockets‘ hopes of acquiring Mike Dunleavy Jr. fell through this week when the Hawks committed to keeping him, but Houston is still looking for another shooter. GM Daryl Morey tried to get involved when Atlanta was searching for a third team in its deal with Cleveland, and he had interest in acquiring Dunleavy when it looked like he might not report to the Hawks. Sources tell Stein that K.J. McDaniels has surpassed Corey Brewer as the Rocket most likely to be traded. McDaniels has one season left on his current deal at more than $3.3MM, while Brewer is signed for one more more season at $7.6MM.
  • The Cavaliers have $4.4MM left from their Anderson Varejao trade exception, which will expire February 20th. That means a trade for a backup point guard may be just as likely as a veteran free agent signing such as Mario ChalmersJarrett Jack or Norris Cole.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has moved ahead of Reggie Jackson on the list of untouchable Pistons in possible trades. Caldwell-Pope is now atop that list alongside Andre Drummond. Detroit is well below .500 since Jackson returned from tendinitis in his left knee in early December. Jackson, whose 5.5 assists per game are the lowest during his time in Detroit, still has three seasons and more than $51MM left on his current deal.
  • Three Trail Blazers who signed huge offseason deals will become eligible to be traded on Sunday. Keep an eye on whether Portland tries to unload some of the salary it committed to Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard.

Northwest Notes: Hayward, Bolomboy, Crabbe

The Jazz are thriving this season, which is something that could bode well for their chances of re-signing Gordon Hayward this offseason, Brad Rock of the Deseret News writes. Utah owns a record of 24-16 and is within striking range of a top-4 seed. “I think we expected it,” Hayward said of the team’s success. “I think going into [the season] we had high expectations for ourselves. There’s a long way to go … so it’s important not to get too high on the highs, but not too low on the lows.”

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Wolves have hired Dwight Lutz and Nick Restifo as Basketball Operation Analysts, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune passes along via Twitter. Lutz previously worked for the NBA as a Senior Manager of Game Analytics and Strategy. Restifo, who was a contributor to Nylon Calculus, previously worked as an Associate Data Scientist at Darden Restaurants.
  • Joel Bolomboy made it through Monday without the Jazz waiving him, which means his salary for next season has become guaranteed, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes on Twitter. The rookie will make $600K this season and slightly over $905K next year.
  • Allen Crabbe, who re-signed with the Blazers on a four-year, $75MM deal over the summer, struggled to begin the season, but now he’s starting to find his groove, as Jason Quick of Comcast Sportsnet details. Crabbe’s player efficiency rating sits at 10.8, a figure which is well-below the league average of 15.0.
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