Portland Trail Blazers

Nets To 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.

Mutual Interest Between Carmelo Anthony, Thunder?

Carmelo Anthony and the Thunder are “officially circling each other,” according to Bill Simmons of The Ringer (Twitter link). As Simmons observes, Troy WeaverSam Presti‘s top lieutenant in Oklahoma City’s front office – has a history with Anthony, having recruited him to Syracuse a decade and a half ago.

Simmons isn’t technically a reporter, but he’s plugged in when it comes to the NBA, so his suggestion that there may be mutual interest between Anthony and the Thunder is an interesting one. The Knicks reportedly had hoped that the standout forward would expand his list of preferred destinations beyond just Houston and Cleveland, so it’s possible that Carmelo isn’t entirely zeroed in on those two teams.

Like the Rockets and Cavs, however, the Thunder wouldn’t necessarily be an ideal trade partner for the Knicks. Oklahoma City moved two of its best young players in the Paul George deal, and has committed to trading first-round picks in 2018 and 2020, limiting the club’s assets.

Steven Adams could be an interesting trade chip for OKC, but it’s not clear if the Thunder would be willing to include him in a deal for Anthony. For salary-matching purposes, Enes Kanter would likely have to be part of any offer if Adams isn’t involved, and I expect Kanter wouldn’t appeal much to the Knicks. So even if Carmelo were willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Thunder, a deal wouldn’t necessarily be any easier than it would be with the Rockets or Cavaliers.

The Trail Blazers are also interested in getting involved in the Anthony sweepstakes, though despite recruiting efforts from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, there has been no indication that the Knicks forward is willing to accept a deal to Portland. Lillard spoke this week about his pitch to Anthony, as Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk details.

Cavaliers Were Close To Acquiring Paul George

The Cavaliers nearly landed Paul George in a three-team deal in late June, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst.

The trade would have sent Kevin Love to Denver and Gary Harris and other assets to Indiana, but Pacers president Kevin Pritchard reportedly backed out before everything was finalized.

Prior to the draft, Cleveland made trade offers to the Pacers for George and to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler. Once the Wolves acquired Butler on draft night, the Cavs stepped up their efforts for George, with the Nuggets agreeing to send Harris and the No. 13 pick to Cleveland, which would include those assets in a deal with Indiana. However, the Pacers put the trade on hold as they talked to the Trail Blazers about a deal to acquire all three of Portland’s first-rounders in exchange for George. Both proposals eventually fell through.

The Cavs continued to work on the trade following the draft, and an agreement was reached on June 30th. All three teams tentatively okayed to the deal on a conference call, and Cleveland began targeting free agents to fit with George. However, Pritchard changed his mind and the news broke soon after that George was headed to Oklahoma City.

The failed trade was part of a tumultuous offseason for the Cavaliers, as the ESPN authors examine in a lengthy piece. Cleveland also parted ways with GM David Griffin and was unable to land Chauncey Billups, who interviewed twice as a potential replacement. The team missed out on marquee free agents and had to settle for Jose Calderon and Jeff Green. Then star guard Kyrie Irving held a meeting with owner Dan Gilbert on July 7th where he issued a request to be traded.

Irving was reportedly angry that his name had been included in offers for Butler and George, and has been unhappy for some time with how much James dominates the ball. He also believes the team defers too much to James, noting that LeBron’s friend, Randy Mims, was given a position as executive administrator and flies on the team plane, while none of Irving’s friends has a similar arrangement.

The front office and the players have been aware of Irving’s intentions for two weeks, and there is confidence in the organization that the team can get enough assets for Irving to remain a contender. The Cavs have been inundated with calls from interested teams since the story broke on Friday.

Blazers’ Stars Recruiting Carmelo Anthony

The Blazers had interest in acquiring Carmelo Anthony, but the 10-time All-Star reportedly won’t consider waiving his no-trade clause to come to last season’s eighth seed in the Western Conference. Still, that hasn’t stopped Portland’s stars from attempting to change the small forward’s mind, as Jason Quick of Comcast Sportsnet relays.

“I spoke to him,’’  Damian Lillard said of Anthony. “Because obviously he makes us a better team. So obviously with that being out there and being a real possibility, I don’t see why I wouldn’t reach out to him and let him know the interest is mutual if he is interested in us.’’

Lillard added that he wasn’t going to share Anthony’s response, though he said the two needed to speak because bringing the 32-year-old to Portland was something that he and C.J. McCollum would welcome should the opportunity present itself.

McCollum said he spoke to Anthony through a trainer the two share. The shooting guard added that he’ll be in New York this week to train and he will “say hello to [Anthony] if he’s there.”

“If we get him … when we get him … I think we could be top three in the West, easy,’’ McCollum said. “I think he’s interested. Obviously, I feel he wants to play with his team – the Banana Boat friends. I know he wants to play with CP [Chris Paul] and LeBron, and those are good options, but I feel we are a good option.’’

Anthony is reportedly focused on getting to the Rockets and Houston believes they will end up adding him in an offseason where they’ve already Paul. The Knicks and Rockets were looking for other teams to help facilitate a trade and the Blazers were apparently one of those franchises. However, Portland doesn’t want to help Anthony get to a rival Western Conference team, as the organization believes Anthony could be the missing piece to elevate the team into the West’s upper echelon.

Lillard was hoping to convince Anthony of just that, along with assuring him that he’s wanted on the team.

“He’s Carmelo Anthony,’’ Lillard said. “You add another guy who can score 50. Over the last decade, he’s been one of best players in the league. Playing against him he’s a cerebral player. He’s smart. He played in the triangle. I can only imagine what it would be like to have him isolating on one side, and CJ in the corner, and me in opposite wing and Nurk on the opposite …  I could only imagine how tough it would be to guard us.

“I want to win a championship. It’s that simple. After my rookie year I’ve been in the playoffs every year and the playoffs are fun … but at this point we need a breakthrough. I’m tired of watching … each year it bothers me more.’’

Trade Notes: Carmelo, Blazers, Celtics, Drummond

The Knicks put Carmelo Anthony trade talks on hold last week, but that decision is likely temporary, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical, who suggests that the team wanted to get new general manager Scott Perry involved in the process. The Knicks reportedly hope that Anthony will be willing to expand his list of preferred destinations beyond Houston and Cleveland, but there has been no indication yet that the star forward is open to going to a team like the Trail Blazers, despite alleged interest from Portland.

According to Mannix, the Trail Blazers have been involved in Anthony talks, but have primarily been acting as a third-team facilitator in discussions so far. Per Mannix’s report, an inability to find a fourth team willing to take on Meyers Leonard‘s contract stalled “at least one version” of the proposed deal.

Anthony’s preferred destination is believed to be Houston, and given his no-trade clause, the fact that Carmelo is willing to accept such a deal is a good start for the Rockets. However, GM Daryl Morey will still have to get the Knicks and potentially one or two other teams on board in order to land Anthony, which is why the situation remains in a holding pattern for now.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Within the Vertical piece linked above, Chris Mannix notes that it’s “widely believed” the Celtics will make a run at Anthony Davis if the Pelicans‘ season goes south. New Orleans has been vehemently opposed to considering Davis deals, and while it’s possible that will change if the team struggles this season, DeMarcus Cousins would almost certainly land on the trading block first.
  • According to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, many teams around the NBA sensed this offseason that Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy was dissatisfied with center Andre Drummond. Detroit took calls on Drummond, but team owner Tom Gores is a big fan of the 23-year-old, and the Pistons didn’t receive any offers strong enough to merit a serious conversation about the big man’s future, per Bontemps.
  • Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Jimmy Butler confirmed that he left a June exit meeting with Bulls brass believing that he’d remain in Chicago. “I thought I was going to be there so I’m not going to say word for word what they said, but when I left there I did think I was going to be there,” Butler said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “But like I said, it’s a business and it is what it is.”

Raptors' Valanciunas Talks With Blazers, Others Didn't Get Far

  • The Raptors haven’t had much luck in their efforts to trade Jonas Valanciunas, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News details. According to Deveney, discussions with the Kings, Suns, Hornets, Trail Blazers, Hawks, and others “did not get very far.” Now that they’ve dumped some salary by moving DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph, it’s not clear if the Raptors are still attempting to move Valanciunas.

Community Shootaround: Melo On The Blazers

Carmelo Anthony has been open to a trade to the Cavs or Rockets, though it was recently reported that he’s focused on joining Houston over any other destination. The Rockets also have interest in such a pairing but they aren’t the only team that would like to bring Melo aboard.

We learned this weekend, that the Blazers have interest in Anthony. Portland feels that it can compete with nearly any team in the Western Conference should Melo come to town. Apparently, the team’s star shooting guard agrees. C.J. McCollum posted a picture of Anthony in a Blazers jersey on his Instagram earlier today, signaling his support for an Anthony deal.

Anthony hasn’t made any public statements since the report of Portland’s interest in him. The Blazers have never been included in any reported short list of teams for which he was willing to waive his no-trade clause.

Yet, for the sake of tonight’s community shootaround, let’s assume Anthony is willing to accept a deal to Portland. Should the Blazers make a deal for the 10-time All-Star and if so, what should they give up in return?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to what you have to say!

Blazers Eyeing Carmelo Anthony

The Knicks had hoped that the Blazers would help facilitate a Carmelo Anthony deal between New York and Houston, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports that Portland is only interested in a deal if it brings Anthony to its team.

The Blazers believe a deal for Anthony would push the team to compete with any non-Warriors Western Conference squad due to their talent and depth. As a result, the organization isn’t interested in helping New York send Anthony to another team in its conference.

Portland currently isn’t on Anthony’s short list of teams in which he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause for. It was previously reported that the 10-time All-Star would be open to a trade to the Rockets and Cavs, though we learned earlier today that he may be focused joining Houston.

Blazers Sign Collins, Swanigan To Rookie Contracts

The Trail Blazers have officially signed rookie big men Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan to their first NBA contracts, according to a pair of press releases issued by the team.

Portland entered last month’s draft with three first-round picks, but packaged the 15th and 20th overall selections to acquire the No. 10 overall pick, which the team used to snag Collins. The Blazers held onto their other first-rounder, No. 26 overall, and selected Swanigan with that pick.

As our chart of rookie scale salaries for 2017/18 shows, Collins will be in line for a first-year salary of $3.06MM and a four-year total of $16.33MM, while Swanigan will earn a more modest $1.47MM salary this season and $8.9MM over four years.

While their investments in Collins and Swanigan are fairly modest compared to most other players on their roster, every dollar will count this year for the Blazers, who already had nearly $133MM in guaranteed salaries on their books before locking up their first-rounders. If Portland is unable to move contracts in a trade, Collins’ and Swanigan’s deals will increase the team’s projected tax penalties for 2017/18.

Latest On Paul George

There’s a near-unanimous view around the league that Paul George will sign with the Lakers next summer despite Friday’s trade to the Thunder, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. Lowe states that the chances of George heading to L.A. are about 75%, and the Celtics and Cavaliers had that in mind as they were working to obtain him.

The Lakers also subscribe to that view, which is why they weren’t willing to part with Brandon Ingram or Lonzo Ball to get George from the Pacers now. Lowe adds that Indiana didn’t have any interest in former Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell, who was subsequently dealt to the Nets.

The ESPN writer shares more information about Friday’s major deal:

  • The Celtics wanted to see if they could land Gordon Hayward in free agency before completing a trade for George. They were reluctant to deal two starters in exchange for George without knowing whether they were getting Hayward.
  • Boston’s last offer for George didn’t include Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, the 2018 Nets pick or the Lakers/Kings pick that Boston received from Philadelphia. There were reports that the Celtics offered Indiana three picks at some point, but Lowe believes those were a combination of Boston’s future selections and protected 2019 first-rounders from the Grizzlies and Clippers. All of those draft choices could have fallen into the 20s, Lowe notes, and the Pacers wanted something more likely to be in the top 10.
  • A three-way trade involving the Pacers, Cavaliers and Nuggets was discussed on Friday. The deal would have sent George to Cleveland, Kevin Love to Denver and Gary Harris, Trey Lyles and a protected first-rounder to Indiana. Lowe describes the Cavaliers, Nuggets and Celtics as “stunned” when news broke that George was headed to Oklahoma City.
  • The Trail Blazers tried to get George on draft night, offering a package that included several picks and at least one player, but the Pacers turned it down.
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