PORTLAND, Ore. — The headlines and social media chatter will mostly focus on the money the Portland Trail Blazers will save by trading Allen Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets for Andrew Nicholson.
That makes sense. This trade will save the Blazers up to $60 million this season in salary and tax payments, according to multiple reports. That's noteworthy and makes this a smart business decision by Blazers general manager Neil Olshey.
But the trade isn't only a win for the Blazers' finances. It's also a win on the court.
How can that be? Crabbe ranked second in the NBA last season in 3-point shooting percentage. He was a major part of the Blazers' rotation, playing almost 30 minutes per game.
Despite Crabbe's deserved sharpshooter status, the rest of his game grades out as mediocre or worse. Advanced analytics peg him as a minus contributor when he's on the court. On offense, Crabbe is a reluctant shooter and a poor ball-handler who struggles to create shots for himself. He doesn't rebound well for a guard and rates as one of the worst defensive shooting guards in the NBA.
According to real-plus minus, the Blazers were 2.65 points worse per 100 possessions with him on the court. His net rating was negative-2.8, according to NBA.com. His player efficiency rating was 11.6, far below the rating of an average NBA player (15.0). It's hard to overcome that kind of negative production from a player who plays as many minutes as Crabbe.
The player Portland is getting in return for Crabbe won't help the Blazers. Nicholson was rated by real-plus minus as the worst power forward in the NBA last season. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Portland plans to waive Nicholson and use the stretch provision to spread out his remaining salary (about $20 million) over the next seven seasons.
Waiving Nicholson is the right choice, even if it means carrying nearly $3 million of dead cap space over the next seven seasons.
Crabbe may end up thriving in Brooklyn. He could start at shooting guard for the Nets, though he'll face competition at the guard spots from Jeremy Lin, DeAngelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll and Caris LeVert. Crabbe demonstrated last season in Portland that he and the team were better off when he was more involved in the offense. Maybe he'll embrace that kind of role in Brooklyn. Blazers fans will surely cheer him on from afar if he does.
Although the impetus for this trade appears to be the money the Blazers will save from making the deal, trading away Crabbe won't hurt the Blazers on the court. It may even help them.
Jared Cowley is a digital producer for KGW. Follow him on Twitter here.