The Portland Trail Blazers maintain traded backup guard Allen Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for reserve forward Andrew Nicholson, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a wobble that will save the Blazers around $60 million.
Portland, following the completion of the trade, will waive and stretch Nicholson, according to Wojnarowski. That means the $19.9 remaining on his original four-year, $26 million deal will be stretched out over seven seasons, mitigating the cap hit over the next three years.
Following the Blazers’ spend of the waive-and-stretch provision, they will maintain cleave over $16 million off their books for the 2017-18 season. Crabbe, who signed one of many overly lucrative contracts final season, was entering the moment year of a four-year, $75 million deal that will pay him $19.3 million this upcoming season. The Nicholson cap hit will be under $3 million.
The over $16 million in salary, plus $43.9 million in luxury tax payments, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marx and The Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps, means the Blazers will save roughly $60 million total as a result of the trade. And that’s only in 2017-18. Crabbe is owed $18.5 million in each of the following two seasons as well.
The Nets, ironically, were the team that forced Portland to overpay Crabbe final offseason. Brooklyn GM Sean Marks signed Crabbe to a $75 million offer sheet that included a 15 percent trade kicker. Portland — perhaps regretfully — matched the offer sheet. Crabbe averaged 10.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in the first year of the four-year deal.
Because the Nets were the team to extend the initial offer sheet, the two clubs had to wait a calendar year since the offer sheet was signed to total the trade. Crabbe, according to Wojnarowski, agreed to waive the trade kicker, which lessens the salary burden on Brooklyn.
But the Nets will still be paying Crabbe $56.3 million over the next three years. Their only compensation was the ability to come by out of Nicholson’s contract, which was significantly less cumbersome.
Nicholson signed a four-year, $26 million deal with the Washington Wizards in 2016. The Wizards then bailed on that mistake, cleave their losses and dumped his salary on the Nets by packaging it with their 2017 first-round pick.
So the Crabbe-Nicholson trade is essentially a salary dump for a salary dump.
And it’s not the first astronomical contract Brooklyn is taking on either. They will be paying Crabbe, Timofey Mozgov and DeMarre Carroll nearly $100 million over the next two seasons. Their reward for taking on those three contracts, from three separate trades, is essentially just D’Angelo Russell, a moment-round pick, and the opportunity to rid themselves of the contracts of Nicholson and Justin Hamilton. They received a lottery-protected 2018 first-round pick in the Raptors trade, but sent a first-rounder to the Lakers in the Russell trade.
The inequity here is that the Nets are getting a player that they always wanted. Still, Crabbe’s contract is way above market value, and it’s a surprise that the Nets weren’t able to also coax a draft pick out of Portland.
The trade also could give the Blazers sufficient financial flexibility to come by involved in a Carmelo Anthony trade — even whether they’re not the team actually receiving Anthony. A report Monday night from former Blazers broadcaster Mike Rice suggested the Blazers would be share of a three-team deal that would send Anthony elsewhere. whether Anthony’s destination is Houston, Portland could be set to select on the contract of Ryan Anderson. whether they finish, the Crabbe trade will get Anderson’s salary much easier to stomach.