Allen Crabbe
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets have high hopes for next summer’s free agency, but in order to be able to afford it, Allen Crabbe’s salary must be shed. 

Brooklyn longed for guard Allen Crabbe well before taking on his salary in a 2017 trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. In fact, exactly one year prior, they set that very salary up; signing Crabbe to an offer sheet for four years and $75 million.

Two years since they tested Portland in restricted free agency and one since acquiring Crabbe in a salary dump deal, the Brooklyn Nets should look to move on from the guard. His player option worth $18.5 million will complicate things come free agency in July.

Not to mention his poor performance this year, posting averages of 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

It’s time to gauge Crabbe’s market and see just what kind of deal they could put together to rid of his salary for next season.

Crabbe, at his best, is an overpriced above-average spot-up shooter and just moderate defender. He’s shot well from three in his 28 games this season, connecting from deep on a .387 clip.

It’s an improvement from last season, albeit on a lesser volume. But hey, it’s sure to help his market, in some fashion or another.

Unfortunately, his market has to be limited to teams with a huge salary cap or multiple expiring contracts. The teams that fit those qualifiers aren’t going to be contending any time soon.

The Chicago Bulls immediately come to mind.

Back in December, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Chicago Bulls were shopping forward Jabari Parker:

“The Bulls, according to sources, have engaged in trade talks with several teams regarding Parker, who fell out of new coach Jim Boylen’s rotation Thursday.”

Just months after he signed his two-year, $40-million deal in free agency, it seems the two sides are ready for divorce.

Then, earlier this week, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that the New York Knicks had spoken with the Bulls about an Enes Kanter-Parker swap:

“In trying to find a new home for Enes Kanter, among the scenarios recently discussed — though only in a preliminary stage — was the Knicks bringing back Chicago’s Jabari Parker, a source told the Daily News.”

It seems the Bulls are eager to rid of Parker, despite having played him in their recent loss to the Utah Jazz. He posted 11 points and seven rebounds in just 19 minutes.

The deal between New York and Chicago derailed when they decided on the need for a third team. Sacramento is available, as they are looking to shed expiring salary in exchange for talent ahead of potentially playing in the postseason.

Could Brooklyn sidestep the Knicks, and insert themselves at the top of Parker’s suitors? In their efforts to rid of Crabbe’s deal, there is a potential trade that makes sense for all sides:

  • Brooklyn receives: F Jabari Parker
  • Chicago receives: PF Zach Randolph, C Kosta Koufos, 1st round pick from Brooklyn via Denver (1-12 protected)
  • Sacramento receives: Allen Crabbe and a second-round pick from Brooklyn via Indiana

In an effort to make a playoff push, the Kings bring Allen Crabbe into the fold. Sacramento, despite ranking eighth in three-pointers made and second in three-point percentage, is still 19th in three-point attempts.

Throwing Crabbe into the mix could help create shots for some of the other shooters. Even with their recent surge into the Western Conference rankings, they still need a small forward.

At 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, he can definitely fill that role for them. And of course, they get a relatively low-cost second round pick as a slight sweetener.

Chicago, on the other hand, who will inevitably buy out big man Robin Lopez, could use an extra center down the stretch. Randolph and Koufos can more than fill Lopez’s role, and hopefully, add some veteran insight to such a young locker room.

Then Brooklyn takes on Jabari Parker’s $20-million salary, obviously with intentions to decline the team option come July.

The Nets clear up salary space for a top-tier free agent, and wouldn’t even have to renounce guard D’Angelo Russell, who might have earned himself an extension this year.

It’s hard to see any team having an issue with the deal, although it could be pulled off by either of the two teams alone. But if there’s already the frameworks of a deal in place, the two teams may want to remain in good faith and pull it off between three.

Allen Crabbe’s salary could slow down Brooklyn’s rise to contention, and damper their free agency hopes. They’ll have to dump his deal at some point this season, and it’s best done before the trade market really starts heating up in February.

A three-team deal with Sacramento nets proper return in a former number two overall pick, and enough salary to fill out their free agency aims come July. If anyone can pull off a deal of this stature, it’s undoubtedly general manager Sean Marks.

Writer, reader, entertainer. New York Knicks and the Carolina Panthers. Hoodie Melo is my spirit animal.