Note that we didn't ask if the Blazers WILL match but rather WOULD match. That's because we don't know what's going on, although we do believe the Nets DO want Allen Crabbe and might offer him somewhere near the $70 million over four that's been reported or better said, rumored.
But should they? Let us explain.
There's little doubt the Nets are interested even if, as expected, they sign Tyler Johnson to a $50 million deal. Here's what Marc Stein tweeted two days ago. There's no suggestion it's changed.
The Nets, league sources say, have weighed all day whether to sign Blazers restricted FA Allen Crabbe to an offer sheet. They're big fans— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2016
Similarly, David Aldridge tweeted three days ago...
Hearing the Nets are making a push for Blazers restricted free agent Allen Crabbe. Blazers have consistently said they’ll match any offer.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2016
Brian Lewis reported Monday that Brooklyn is indeed still interested in the 6'6" shooting guard.
With Crabbe set to meet with the Nets Tuesday, it’s obvious they’re still talking and he’s still listening. And it’s also clear Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks is sticking with the blueprint of prudent spending and calculated long-term plays for the future to help rebuild a 21-61 team which does not control its own first-round pick until 2019.
And in the aftermath of the inaccurate report that Crabbe had a done deal with the Nets -- and that Portland won't match-- Sam Amick noted...
That doesn't mean Allen Crabbe might not ultimately head to Brooklyn on that kind of number, but he's clearly still listening.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 3, 2016
So, let's assume the Nets beat out other teams who are interested -- the 76ers in particular -- and the Nets forward an offer sheet to Neil Olshey, the Portland GM and his boss, owner Paul Allen, the richest man in the NBA. Unlike Tyler Johnson, Crabbe is NOT covered by the Arenas Rule. The offer sheet would be straight, uncomplicated ... to a point.
But at that point, it becomes a game of chicken. How high will the Blazers go. The conventional wisdom is that after they signed Evan Turner to a four-year, $70 million deal, the Blazers might not match a big deal like the Nets. But the word was that the Blazers see the two as complimentary. Turner can't shoot, but can pass. Crabbe can't pass but can shoot. Still, committing $140 million to two swingmen seems excessive. (Of course,the Nets would be committing $120 million to Johnson and Crabbe.)
Now, comes the real kicker. The Blazers had talked to Pau Gasol about joining their front court at $20 million per over two years. Now, with Gasol headed to San Antonio to replace a (possibly) retiring Tim Duncan, it would appear the Blazers would have enough cap space to match any Nets offer.
If Pau is going to the Spurs, I expect the Blazers to bring back all of their RFAs— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) July 4, 2016
But wait there's more! The Blazers were pursuing Festus Ezeli who the Warriors must renounce to take on Kevin Durant's new deal.
Then, the Oregonian's Jason Quick added to the argument that the Blazers were going to match by tweeting that the Warriors had abandoned the idea of signing Ezeli because it would have meant they'd have to renounce young players.
To chase Ezeli, Blazers felt they would have renounce players, which they are unwilling to do.They value Leonard, Crabbe and Harkless— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 4, 2016
And no free agent discussion is complete nowadays without a cryptic tweet from the player himself.
Everything happens for a reason— Allen Crabbe (@allencrabbe) July 4, 2016
Of course, this is all speculation. And if the Nets believe the Blazers are really ready to match, should they even make an offer to Crabbe? After committing to Tyler Johnson, the Nets will only have $21 million left in cap space. The Nets would have to set aside around $15 to $17 million of that number until the Blazers showed their intentions. They couldn't use that space to sign anyone else for three days, which could be critical. It would be tied up.
So again, we wait.