The Brooklyn Nets dealt with the loss of draft picks at the hands of the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Nets watched as their on-paper “Dream Team” of Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Paul Pierce failed to bring home a title. Now, the team has been rebuilt but there are still lingering issues with the roster. One of them is what to do with Allen Crabbe?
Since arriving in Brooklyn via trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, Crabbe has been a bust. There’s just no other way to put it. And what is staggering is that it’s the Nets’ fault.
While with the Portland Trail Blazers, Crabbe seemed destined to become a breakout player. Want proof of that? When Crabbe became a free agent in the summer of 2016, the Blazers matched the Nets offer sheet of four years and $84 million. What this did was prove to Allen Crabbe that he was valued but it also set the Nets back. They wanted Crabbe and were willing to overpay. Little did they know.
The following season, the Blazers and Nets agreed to a trade in which Crabbe was sent to the Nets. In his first season, Crabbe played well while averaging 13.2 points, 1.6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game (all career-highs). However, his shooting percentage (.407) took a dramatic decline; granted, it was due to the fact that Crabbe was shooting more three-pointers than he ever has, per Basketball Reference. On a positive side for Crabbe, he started 68 of 75 games for the Nets in 2017, and has not been a consistent starter in other years.
Fast forward to the 2018-19 season and nothing has gone right for Crabbe. He’s struggling from the field, shooting just .318 percent and his per game scoring had dropped from 13.2 to 8.3. In the 23 games he’s played this season, Crabbe has started ten. The reason the Brooklyn Nets should move him is that he’s needed more than ever with the injury to Caris LeVert but still hasn’t offered much to the team.
But will the Nets be able to find a partner willing to take on such a huge contract?
Allen Crabbe has a player option for 2019 which will pay him $18.5 million, per Spotrac. With this in place, it might be hard for the Nets to move him. Crabbe was expected as part of a youth movement in Brooklyn but has struggled to find his place. Over his last 11 games, he’s scored in double figures just five times while having ample opportunities. Something has to give.
Is the talent there? It sure appeared to be last season. Crabbe is one of those payers who has it all. He has just enough handle to create his own shot. He’s not a terrible defender and when he’s hot from the perimeter, Crabbe can put up some points. So what’s the issue? What has been the difference from 2017 to 2018?
Does he just not believe in himself? Is he just not a good fit? Is it the coaching? No matter the answer, Allen Crabbe has to go. But where and for what is the million dollar question?
The Brooklyn Nets could ship him out to the Phoenix Suns for Trevor Ariza. There is also the option of sending him to the New Orleans Pelicans as they are in desperate need of a wing to pair with Anthony Davis. Sometimes all a player needs is a change of scenery and the Brooklyn Nets must begin to think about how keeping Crabbe affects their future. While Crabbe was once regarded as the player they must have, it’s just not working anymore.
If the Nets have learned anything from their dark cloud days, its that holding on to players who do not fit is a crime. With a nucleus of D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen, Crabbe should have a place. But he doesn’t. He’s being paid top dollar to bring nothing to the table. He has to go.