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NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports the Brooklyn Nets have traded Andrew Nicholson to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Allen Crabbe.

Crabbe was never really off Sean Marks’ radar. He just had to wait one year.

Woj writes...

Crabbe waived a trade kicker that would have paid him $5.6 million over the next two years, league sources said. He wanted to sign with the Nets a year ago for the chance to be a starter, and he now gets a bigger role in a Brooklyn backcourt that includes D'Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin. The Nets have been eager to construct a roster that includes developing young players, and Crabbe fits the model.

It’s the story that never ends. Marks offered Crabbe a four-year, $75 million offer last summer. Crabbe, a restricted free agent at the time, signed the offer sheet but Portland later matched. The trade comes two weeks after the end of the one-year trade moratorium that began when the Blazers matched on July 13 of last year.

After somewhat of a disappointing season off the bench —10.7 points in 29 minutes per game, Crabbe was seen as expendable. The Blazers were ready to move one of their big, oversized contracts to save money and add some roster flexibility. Crabbe turned out to be the contract they decided to dump. The trade helps the Blazers luxury tax situation both long-term and short-term, saving them almost $44 million this year alone. They also get a $12.9 million trade exception.

In an odd way, the deal is the third salary dump of the off-season. The Nets took on a big contract they wanted, Crabbe’s, while dumping one they didn’t want, Nicholson’s. Last month, the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov for Brook Lopez. Then, earlier this month, they acquired first and second round picks and DeMarrre Carroll for Justin Hamilton.

And of course, Nicholson was acquired as part of a salary dump in the deadline deal with the Wizards last February. That deal, which sent Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington, helped Brooklyn acquire a first-round draft pick which became Jarrett Allen.

In effect, Brooklyn has been patiently using its cap space as way to make up for its lost draft picks, instead of chasing free agents and overspending. Sean Marks made one free agent move, an offer sheet to restricted free agent Otto Porter Jr. fell through when Washington matched.

Porter Jr. was the fourth restricted free agent Marks has gone after in the past 16 months. He struck out on all four, but got a do-over on Crabbe.

“At first when they made the offer, I thought somebody was joking with me,” Crabbe told NetsDaily in November. “ I was excited, happy. It was a crazy feeling just knowing that a team wanted me like that. It felt really good.”

As for Andrew Nicholson, Woj reports the Trail Blazers will waive and stretch him.

The Nets shed Nicholson’s contract of nearly $6 million through 2019. They’ll take on close to $19 million with Crabbe’s contract. He’s signed through the 2018-2019 season with a player option in 2020.

Nate Duncan laid it out.

“Yeah man. I think it’s human nature. You think ‘what if. What if I was playing here?’” Crabbe said in the same interview with NetsDaily. “So there’s always that. I don’t think about it too much, but I’m focused on being here and helping this team be successful.”

And now it IS.

As noted, Crabbe averaged 10.7 points in 29 minutes per game but he shot the 3-point ball at a 44 percent clip, second best in the NBA. With a bigger role and Brooklyn’s pace and motion offense - this should bode well for Crabbe and the Nets.

It should be noted that in May Crabbe underwent surgery to repair a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot. Crabbe is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in September.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley, the Nets foot/ankle specialist, at the Hospital for Special Surgery.