Allen Crabbe
AP Photo

The Brooklyn Nets make their first big deal of the offseason by trading Allen Crabbe to the Atlanta Hawks in a package for Taurean Prince.

Danny Small

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that the Brooklyn Nets are trading Allen Crabbe and two first-round picks (No. 17 in 2019 and a top-14 protected first in 2020) for Taurean Prince and a 2021 second rounder.

The Nets were willing to part with two first rounders to ensure that they could offload the $18.5 million due to Crabbe next season. Prince is younger and will make just under $3.5 million next season.

This move gives general manager Sean Marks a wide berth in free agency. Brooklyn can now comfortably sign a max free agent and re-sign restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell. That being said, if the Nets choose to let Russell walk in free agency, they can sign two max free agents.

Perhaps Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would rather team up in Barclays Center rather than Madison Square Garden. A major part of the New York Knicks‘ plan to sign Durant could involve letting him choose a running partner. After the Crabbe trade, the Nets can offer Durant that same exact pitch now.

While the free agency implications of this trade will dominate headlines, the Nets are adding a strong wing that can knock down threes and defend. The 6-foot-8 Prince shot 39% from deep last season and he can even play some small-ball four in a pinch.

Giving up two first-round picks isn’t ideal, but if the Nets are successful in free agency, they can afford to part ways with the draft capital.

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