If you pay any attention to the NBA you are aware that we are in for a potentially landscape-changing offseason in the NBA with the potential that guys like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler could all be changing teams. We have seen the first potentially big move set up and that was the Nets trading Allen Crabbe, the number 17 overall pick in this years draft and a protected first-round pick in 2020 to Atlanta for Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
This deal itself is not that big of a deal in terms of the players being moved. Neither player is a star or anything like that, although they are both productive players and could be nice players in the right situation.
This trade could have huge ramifications however because Allen Crabbe is set to make $18.5 million this upcoming season while Prince is set to make just under $3.5 million this upcoming season and just under $4.8 million the season after if he is extended the qualifying offer before being set to hit restricted free agency and assuming he stays there the whole time they will possess his early bird rights.
Getting rid of Crabbe is a big deal for the Nets because it clears a ton of cap space for them. Woj is reporting that upcoming free agent Kyrie Irving is very serious about the Nets and with this move they clear about $15 million in cap space plus they have DeMarre Carroll and his $15.4 million set to come off their books along with a bunch of dead cap space between Dwight Howard and Kenneth Faried. Brooklyn is looking like a team that’s going to have the space for two max contracts.
Things could get complicated with D’Angelo Russell because he is a restricted free agent and they’ll be able to match any offer sheet and go over the cap to do so, but being able to get two max players and keep Russell could take some careful maneuvering by the Brooklyn front office and it would likely push them right up to the luxury tax.
Coming off of a 42-40 season that saw a 14-win improvement from the season before and them making the playoffs and actually taking game one on the road in Philadelphia before losing the next four and seeing their season come to an end, adding potentially two max players would be huge even if it would push them towards the luxury tax because it would more than likely push them into the upper half of the East playoffs depending on what happens to some of the other teams.
Basketball-wise these aren’t bad moves for either team. Allen Crabbe has seen his shooting drop off in the last two years in Brooklyn after he shot 41.1% from three in his four seasons in Portland he has dropped to 37.8% in each of the last two seasons in Brooklyn and this past season he was limited to just 43 games. Atlanta is a team however clearly looking to take on salary after a 29-win season that saw them play much better at the end of the season.
If Atlanta can get Portland Allen Crabbe, he will be well worth trading for because he is a guy who can be a knock-down shooter, having shot a career-high 44.4% from three in his last season in Portland. On top of that he’s also rated as a pretty strong defender over the course of his career, which is something that Atlanta desperately needs after finishing 27th in the league last season in defensive rating.
For the Nets, they needed a front court player. Jarrett Allen has looked very promising so far in his career as a threat to be dangerous finishing at the hoop and as a shot blocker, but other than him the Nets are probably not going to bring back DeMarre Carroll unless he takes a huge pay cut, which is something that he shouldn’t do because he’s still a productive player.
Prince has been in the league for three seasons and each of the past two seasons he has averaged over 13 points per game, while shooting 38.7% from three over the past two seasons. On top of that he’s also a capable rebounder and passer and he has value as a slasher, finishing at the rim last season at a 68.9% clip and shooting free throws at 82.3% in his career.
It’s all speculation but if the Nets are able to get Irving in free agency, Prince should go well with him because of his ability to slash to the hoop, but also because he is shooting 44.5% on threes from the corner. So whether it is Irving or Russell, when they are able to break down the defense he will be someone they should be able to throw the ball to and trust him to make something happen.
This deal also gives the Hawks picks 8, 10, 17, 35, 41 and 44 in this years draft and that is something they can use to trade for a veteran or trade up in the draft.
Both of these players fit in well to the team they’ll be going to and assuming the Nets are able to get a max free agent, getting Prince could be really impactful, especially if it ends up being Irving.
There of course is also the possibility they add Kevin Durant.
Buckle up folks because there’s going to be a lot of maneuvering for cap space over the next few weeks and there will be a ton of rumors before we see the large amount of player movement we could end up seeing this summer.
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