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In Memoriam: The Trail Blazers’ $13 Million Trade Exception

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Members of the Blazer’s Edge staff pay their last respects to Portland’s $13 million trade exception.

Portland Trail Blazers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The deadline on the Trail Blazers’ $13 million trade exception created by the Allen Crabbe trade has come and passed. The exception wasn’t the only thing that expired, as Portland’s only real tool to acquire a veteran player without having to sacrifice a tangible asset has also disappeared. Previously, Dave Deckard explained the history, limitations, and ramifications of using the TPE (perhaps foreshadowing this outcome). But now, left with Andrew Nicholson’s stretched contract to comfort them, members of Blazer’s Edge staff gathered to pay their final respects to Portland’s TPE.

Steve Dewald (@SteveDHoops): I knew this day would come, but it didn’t prevent me from daydreaming about what the TPE could become this summer. Despite being frequently referenced by Portland’s front office, the Blazers’ failed to turn the sizable exception into a player. I held out hope until Wilson Chandler was shipped to the Sixers by the cash-strapped Nuggets.

Wherever you’re going TPE, say hello to Raef LaFrentz’s expiring contract when you get there.

Perry Waggoner (@perrywaggoner): They say that the TPE is what dreams are made of — well, I say that. But are we sure it really stands for “Traded Player Exception”? How about Totally Pointless Exception, Typical Portland Exception, or [Neil Olshey] Talking Point Exception? No matter the correct title, you will be missed, TPE. Gone too soon.

Adrian Bernecich (@abernecich): Ah, the TPE, one of two pieces (sorry Andrew Nicholson) received in the Allen Crabbe trade that will never suit up in a Blazer uniform. Truth is, I almost re-named you Wilson Chandler - serves me right for jumping the gun. Well as Timmay always says ... [This response has been deleted due to multiple violations of the Blazer’s Edge conversational guidelines.]

Brian Freeman (@BrianFreeman24): Instead of a traditional response, I decided to craft a poem:

The luxury tax gripped us tight,

But it seemed for a moment, that we could see the light

It wasn’t much of a talent nab, but the Blazers finally rid themselves of Allen Crabbe.

And it’s not Andrew Nicholson that gives me glee, but the opportunity brought from the TPE.

Olshey spoke and promises came, that we had more options to help out Dame

But promise turned to lie and we were forsaken, as absolutely no TPE action was taken.

So now it’ll disappear into thin air, as fans are fed BS about how no moves were there

TPE we bid you farewell in your shattered lore, I only wish that to our front office, winning mattered more...

Danny Marang (@DMarang): (Screams internally).

Peter Sampson (@petersampson): Why is it that the beautiful are taken from us so early? I’ll never forget the first time I met the Allen Crabbe Traded Player Exception in person; I was at Umi Sushi out in Lake Oswego when A.C.T.P.E quietly walked in - sweatpants, hoodie, red Beats Wireless Solo 3 headphones - to pick up a take out order.

There was a certain grace about him. A quiet confidence. No need to advertise his presence, but he clearly refused to apologize for his fame. I was taken back by how long his arms were. “This expiring trade exception is built to play modern basketball” I thought to myself.

I never even mentioned A.C.T.P.E’s brief presence in the restaurant to my dining companion. I was too mesmerized. It was like accidentally stumbling upon Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in the wild. It was briefly locking eyes with Boticelli’s Venus.

Vaya con Dios, A.C.T.P.E. You were a significant asset.

I’ll see you and Cash Considerations on the other side.

Timmay (@pdxTimmay): Regular readers are probably aware that I never expected the trade exception to get used. It probably would have expired in near silence, like other recent trade exceptions around the league. Unfortunately, this roundtable is happening due to Neil Olshey. He chose to shine a light on this specific exception with his public statements, giving a sign of hope to the fans expecting a much-needed upgrade.

But one of the advantages we do have, we have an incredibly aggressive owner in Paul Allen. He believes in the core of this group, he wants to improve the group and we’ve got two really good trade exceptions. We’ve got a $13 million trade exception from the Allen Crabbe trade, we’ve got one at $3.5 (million) from the Noah Vonleh trade and we’re viewing those trade exceptions as if they’re room when it comes to making deals and acquiring players.

At last, it’s time to move on. Allen Crabbe, whose contract was not commensurate to his skill level, was traded for a smaller bad contract that will be on the Blazers’ cap for years to come. That’s now officially the entire transaction.

Isaiah De los Santos (@_idelossantos): I assumed Brandon Roy himself would come back to sign a max contract before the TPE was used, but I also wasn’t the one who waved the TPE around as an asset heading into the summer...

Tara Bowen-Biggs (@tcbbiggs): I remember when T.P.E. first came to Portland. At first I thought it was going to be great having a T.P.E. in town! Then I learned that the T.P.E. sounds a lot cooler than it really is.

After some time passed though, I started to appreciate why some people liked having the T.P. E. around. I mean, we didn’t have to use T.P.E., but knowing T.P.E. was there as a possibility was always nice. Like, you know you probably aren’t going to have to use the fire extinguisher but just knowing you have one makes you feel a little more secure. Unfortunately, like a fire extinguisher, the T.P.E. has an expiration date, and before we knew it, our time together was over. I still don’t feel like I ever totally understood T.P.E., but I felt like we’d come a long way, and maybe with another year together we could have really done something big. R.I.P. T.P.E.

Ryan Chase (@Chase_BlazEdge): A lot of people are talking about how it takes two to tango, and there just wasn’t a trade out there. Personally, I don’t believe it. The Blazers have few tradeable assets outside McCollum and Lillard because of the ill-advised spending spree. No team is going to take Leonard or Turner unless picks are also going their way. The team shouldn’t get credit for the TPE in the first place, since even matching Crabbe’s Nets offer in the first place was a poor decision.

Kody Tarbell (@ktarbell_GFU11): Good bye TPE, we knew you well. You were seen as a gleaming light for fans in Ripcity, always our go to when we needed your help in a fantasy trade. Wherever you are, make sure to say hello to Olshey, as I’m sure he will be close by.


It was fun while it lasted. Please feel free to share a few words on the TPE’s behalf in the comments below.