On July 7, Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent Allen Crabbe agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets on a 4-year, $75 million deal (rumored to reach $83 million after bonuses) with a player option in the fourth year and a trade kicker. The Blazers have until 8:59 p.m. tonight to match that substantial offer. Will the Blazers do it? Should they do it?
Yes, match the offer on Allen Crabbe. I'm not thrilled about it, because it's a classic case of "overpay for the restricted free agent," but match anyway. Even with the rise in the salary cap, Allen Crabbe is not worth that paycheck based on his on-court statistics. However, the modern game heavily values three-and-D players. Even if he never reaches the level that would make that salary reasonable, his contract would still be tradeable. And you never want to lose tradeable assets whenever possible. All that being said, I'm not sure which ending fills me with more dread: The Blazers declining this offer, or matching it. Credit to former Blazer Sean Marks for calling Portland's bluff.
Dave Deckard (@DaveDeckard):
Even with cap considerations and Evan Turner on board, the Blazers have to consider keeping Crabbe simply because he's an asset for future deals. They don't have enough talent to let people go. If he fits the long-term plans they're golden. If not, maybe the teams interested in him now will be more interested as he enters his prime. That said, the Blazers should let Crabbe walk if matching would take them into luxury tax territory this year or next year with CJ re-signing.
David MacKay (@DavidMacKayNBA):
I would be alright with the Blazers matching on Crabbe, but it seems almost irresponsible given the price tag. Even after the bargain deals on Festus Ezeli and Meyers Leonard, it makes me uneasy to think about how much money the Blazers would be tying up between Damian Lillard, Crabbe, and presumably CJ McCollum when his rookie deal ends. Granted, the cap will rise further next season and the jury is still out on CBA renegotiation this coming off-season, so the contract might look better in a year than it does now. Still, if it comes down to it, I say enjoy the memories, congratulate him on the payday, and wish him the best of luck in Brooklyn.
Dan Marang (@DMarang):
Meyers Leonard signed a perfect deal. Under performing at that price is difficult and if he improves the deal will pay off in spades. This deal for Crabbe is the exact opposite. Underperforming on this deal is quite easy to do and playing to expectations let alone above the deal is asking a lot of a guy who’s untested as a starter over 82 games.
Outside of Crabbe you have to look at how this effects the overall salary structure of the team. If his deal has an average value of $20M per year, you’re looking at tying up roughly $65M between Crabbe, Lillard, and McCollum after this year. Tying up over 60% of your cap in 3 guys make sense when all of them are proven stars- that’s not the case here. I hate to let assets leave for nothing but Sean Marks of the Nets just isn’t messing around. The combination of a player option, trade kicker, and incentives that take the deal above $80M total value is just too big a pill to swallow. Don’t match.