Brooklyn Nets rumors: Allen Crabbe, 2 1st-rounders to Atlanta Hawks

Brooklyn Nets Allen Crabbe. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Allen Crabbe. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

It had been expected, but according to a report, the Brooklyn Nets are sending Allen Crabbe and 2 1st-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks for Taurean Prince.

The Brooklyn Nets had long been expected to look to move Allen Crabbe‘s expiring contract and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets have done so in a salary-dump trade with the Atlanta Hawks that will still yield the Nets a solid young player.

According to Wojnarowski, the Nets will send Crabbe, their 17th overall pick in the June 20 NBA Draft and a protected first-round pick in 2020 to the Hawks in exchange for young wing Taurean Prince and a second-round pick in 2021.

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Trading away the first-round pick this year will mean Brooklyn will go six consecutive drafts without exercising their own Round 1 selection, with Mason Plumlee in 2013 remaining the Nets’ last organic first-rounder.

Their picks in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 all went to the Boston Celtics in the ill-fated trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the summer of 2013, while their 2015 first-rounder went to Atlanta in a July 2012 trade that netted Joe Johnson prior to the team’s first season in Brooklyn.

Crabbe, 27, is coming off his worst season since becoming a full-time rotational piece with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2015. Injuries hounded him this season, as he sprained an ankle in the preseason and went through a lengthy shooting slump upon his return.

Just as his shot was beginning to heat up, Crabbe injured his right knee in a fall in a Dec. 12 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers, a game in which he scored 20 points and was 4-for-8 from 3-point range.

Crabbe missed nearly two months before returning just before the All-Star break in early February but his shot was not right, as he hit 41.6 percent overall and 36.3 percent on 6.1 3-point attempts per game in 15 games before being shut down for the season in mid-March.

He underwent an arthroscopic procedure on the knee in early April and did not make an appearance in the playoffs for Brooklyn.

Prince, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound small forward, just completed his third NBA season with the Hawks and battled injuries throughout. He missed 27 games as he dealt with a lingering foot injury and a sprained left ankle that cost him five weeks in December and January.

His efficiency improved in 2018-19 even as his per-game numbers dipped. He averaged 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.2 minutes per game, shooting 44.1 percent overall and 39 percent on 5.7 attempts per game from 3-point land.

Those percentages compare to 42.6 percent and 38.5 percent, respectively, on a comparable number of deep attempts in his first season as a starter in 2017-18.

The cap implications are huge for the Nets. Crabbe last month exercised his $18.5 million option for next season, while Prince comes in on an expiring rookie deal and is set to make $3.48 million next season.

Brooklyn thus picks up a little more than $15 million on next season’s cap sheet, allowing the Nets to create a maximum of $65.53 million under the projected cap of $109 million, using Jeff Siegal’s figures at Early Bird Rights, while also having the $9.25 mid-level exception and $3.62 million bi-annual exception available.

That puts the Nets in play for two max slots, with much buzz linking Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn and some rumors about Kevin Durant‘s desire to come to New York as well.

That the Nets have gone from taking on bad contracts to dumping them on other teams (the Nets sent Jeremy Lin‘s expiring deal to the Hawks last summer) is another sign that the franchise is in a very different place than it was when general manager Sean Marks came on board early in 2016.

Moving Crabbe’s contract was seen as essential for the Nets to maximize their cap flexibility for 2019-20 and they managed to do it while also adding a former lottery pick — Prince was the No. 12 overall pick in 2016.

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That has to be considered a huge win for Marks and the Nets.