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Newest Net Allen Crabbe looks to break out of his shell

Waived $5.6 million for opportunity to come to Brooklyn, improve his game

New Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe at Nets' HSS

New Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe at Nets' HSS Training Center on Thursday, July 27, 2017. Nets signed Crabbe to an offer sheet last summer, so there has been some interest for some time. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Allen Crabbe left more than $5 million at the airport.

The Nets’ newest acquisition didn’t lose any jewelry, and a duffel bag of dollar bills won’t turn up anytime soon. No, Crabbe — who has been interested in joining the Nets for at least a year — waived his $5.6-million trade kicker to facilitate the deal that sent him from Portland to Brooklyn.

“I left it there,” he said Thursday at the Nets’ training facility, two days after being traded for Andrew Nicholson. “What I make now is not too bad, so I don’t think the $5 million is going to hurt, but like I said, it’s about coming in here and just getting better as a player and helping this organization any way I can to get us to the playoffs and just have a successful team.”

It wasn’t all that long ago that joining the Nets would have been sacrifice enough, but Crabbe is as good an indication as any that general manager Sean Marks has been somewhat successful in changing the culture in Brooklyn. The acquisitions of Crabbe and D’Angelo Russell have underlined the franchise’s commitment to youth and versatility, and the addition of DeMarre Carroll has solidified them as a group intent on playing up-tempo team basketball.

For Crabbe, often criticized for being a one-dimensional player reliant on his three-point shot, it’s an opportunity to grow and shed his old reputation, he said.

“Sometimes you just have to make a move for yourself, for your career, and I felt like this was the best place for me,” said Crabbe, who signed a four-year, $75-million offer sheet with the Nets last year that was matched by the Trail Blazers. The guard/forward left most of the ballhandling to Damian Lillard and played behind C.J. McCollum at shooting guard last season, but he likely will get more opportunities to handle the ball with the Nets. He has three years left on his contract, with an average annual salary of $18.7 million.

“The more and more that I’m put in a situation [to handle the ball], the more and more that I’ll learn — you know, how to run [the pick and roll] effectively and do certain things out of it,” Crabbe said. “It’s what any basketball player could ask for in the NBA, for an expanded role and just do more things.”

Crabbe, 6-6 and 215 pounds, spent his first four seasons with Portland. In 2016-17, he averaged 10.7 points and shot 44.4 percent from three-point range, second-highest in the league among qualifying players. He has shot 41.1 percent from outside the arc in his career.

Crabbe joins a glut of guards on the Nets, but Marks doesn’t seem overly concerned.

“I think if you look at the way the NBA is sort of moving and going, the value of people who can shoot — three-point shooters especially — we value a player like this,” Marks said, adding that though Crabbe likely will play small forward, he also will see time at power forward.

“I’m excited to see him with our coaching staff and especially with Kenny [Atkinson] and the development pieces here,” Marks said.

When presenting the offer sheet last year, Marks recalled the team telling Crabbe: “ ‘Look, we think we can help your game. We think we can take it to another level. Let’s not just be a shooter.’ And he’s excited about that. I know he’s got a little chip on his shoulder and he wants to take his game to another level and that’s all-around facets, it’s not just shooting. It’s defense, it’s everything.”

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