It took a little more than a year, but the Nets got their man.
The Nets acquired shooting guard Allen Crabbe from the Portland Trail Blazers for Andrew Nicholson. The Nets signed Crabbe to a four-year $75-million offer sheet last year that Portland matched. Under league rules, the Blazers had to wait one year to include Crabbe in any trade with the Nets.
Crabbe, 25, gives the Nets a needed shooter who fits into coach Kenny Atkinson’s system. The 6-6 Crabbe averaged 10.7 points for the Blazers last season and connected on 44.4 percent of his three-pointers, which ranked second in the NBA.
The Nets were fourth in the league last season, attempting 31.6 three-pointers per game. But they had the fifth-worst three-point percentage (33.8 percent). For his career, Crabbe has hit 41.1 percent of his threes.
Since Nicholson averages less than $7 million per year over the next three years, this deal is essentially a salary dump for the Blazers, who also will receive a $12.9 million trade exception. ESPN reported that the Blazers will stretch Nicholson and waive him. The capped-out Blazers are trying to get under the luxury tax, but this move also could be clearing the way for another trade.
The Blazers had been rumored to be a willing third-team trade partner in talks with the Knicks and Rockets that would send Carmelo Anthony to Houston. One holdup has been trying to find a team to absorb Houston forward Ryan Anderson’s contract. He is owed $61 million over three years.
Portland stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have tried to recruit Anthony to Portland. Both acknowledged contacting the Knicks’ perennial All-Star to pitch Portland to him. But Anthony has his sights set on joining his pal Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston.
Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract that he would be willing to waive to play for the Rockets or Cavaliers. But a league source said his first choice is to play with Houston.
Crabbe, a second-round pick of the Cavaliers in 2013, started only 24 games with the Blazers over the past four seasons. But he developed into a reliable reserve for Portland.
It’s too soon to know whether he will start or come off the bench for the Nets, who also acquired guard D’Angelo Russell and small forward DeMarre Carroll this offseason.
The Nets starting backcourt likely will be Russell and Jeremy Lin. But Crabbe will have a bigger role than he did in Portland behind Lillard and McCollum, especially since the Nets have gone after him multiple times now.
They want Crabbe to be a part of their young core that includes Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, Isaiah Whitehead and first-round pick Jarrett Allen. Crabbe also was so willing to join Atkinson and the Nets that he reportedly is waiving his trade kicker that would have paid him $5.6 million over the next two years.
The Nets acquired Nicholson from Washington just before last season’s trade deadline along with Marcus Thornton and a first-round pick, which they used to take Allen. They sent the Wizards Bojan Bogdanovic and Chris McCullough.
Nicholson appeared in 10 games, and averaged 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds for the Nets last season.