The Brooklyn Nets made another under-the-radar NBA move Tuesday, trading for overpaid Portland wing Allen Crabbe. The Nets wanted him last year and got the Blazers to cough up $75 million (!) over four years. That’s insane for a reserve who is an excellent shooter, but doesn’t do a ton else.
This comes on the heels of another quiet Brooklyn move to nab a starter, when it traded for DeMarre Carroll, who was a valuable 3-and-D player two years ago in Atlanta. After his best season as a pro (12.6 ppg, 39 percent on 3-pointers) the Raptors overpaid him, lavishing a 4-year, $60 million deal on the forward they hoped would play defense. It didn’t quite work out, and Carroll was terrible this postseason (4.2 ppg).
The Nets, clearly willing to take on bad contracts, snapped up Crabbe, who could start at small forward, Carroll, who will play power forward in small ball lineups, and of course D'Angelo Russell from the Lakers.
Is this the worst team in the league? They won 20 games last year when it was Brook Lopez and a dozen average or below-average players. But led by Russell, there’s the framework of real talent that can contribute and win games for coach Kenny Atkinson. This year’s depth chart outlook:
SG — Russell/Crabbe/Sean Kilpatrick
PG — Jeremy Lin/Isaiah Whitehead
F — Carroll/Caris LeVert
F — Rondae Hollis-Jefferson/Trevor Booker
C — Timofey Mozgov/Jarrett Allen
Is 30 wins too many? Here are teams that could be worse than the Nets:
Chicago Bulls. Let the rebuild begin. Dwyane Wade will be bought out, the only question is when. They’re probably the youngest team in the NBA. I actually liked the Jimmy Butler trade, but it’s going to take time for them to win again. It feels like a 20-win season, which isn’t a bad thing because they get in the Michael Porter sweepstakes.
Dallas Mavericks. I have no idea how they won 33 games last year (Rick Carlisle deserves a lot of credit). Dennis Smith may be ROY, but he’s 19. Dirk Nowitzki is 39. Harrison Barnes averaged 19.2 ppg.
New York Knicks. Won 31 games last year, and didn’t get better. They actually got worse, overpaying Tim Hardaway, drafting a 19-year old point guard from Belgium, and who knows how this roster will react to scrapping the triangle offense. Maybe they trade Carmelo.
Sacramento Kings. Yes, they significantly upgraded personnel, from the draft – De'Aaron Fox (potential Rookie of the Year), Harry Giles, Justin Jackson, Frank Mason – and in free agency, too (Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, George Hill). But this team is very young, lacks shooting, and the West is brutal.