Neil Olshey traded Allen Crabbe to Nets for virtually nothing
The Portland Trail Blazers shockingly traded marksman Allen Crabbe exactly a year ago in exchange for Andrew Nicholson, who was later waived and now plays in China.
Crabbe, then a 25-year-old wing who was coming off a career-best season, ranking second in the league after shooting a blistering 44 percent from 3-point range for the Blazers, was one of the four restricted free agents Nets general manager Sean Marks had signed to an offer sheet over the last 13 months, all of them were matched by their original team.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey made the move in order to relieve the organization from the impending luxury tax after a spending spree for Damian Lillard (owed $26 million in 2017-18), C.J. McCollum ($24 million) and Evan Turner ($17 million).
The trade also gave Portland a much-lauded trade exception — one that has now gone unused and is rendered futile, having had a year to swing a deal and reap some sort of benefit from the move (h/t Tim Brown of The Oregonian).
To recap — the Nets had to only wait one year on a contract they themselves had stipulated for Crabbe (forcing Portland to match), while the Blazers only managed to cut their salary tax bill for one season from $48.3 million to $4.4 million, saving $60 million overall (per ESPN Insider Bobby Marks) after a wild deal spree over the years.
The Nets have shown that there is a benefit to rolling the dice with restricted free agents — the first is to show sincere interest in a player, make relationships, and the last to put opposing teams in a precarious situation where they might have to ultimately surrender players in order to get out of luxury tax purgatory.
Olshey has yet to relive his magic as a general manager of the L.A. Clippers, now only a Damian Lillard trade away from being exiled from Rip City after constant failures have yet to impress owner Paul Allen or any of the players currently in the roster.