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Allen Crabbe introduced as a Brooklyn Net: “Better late than never”

Allen Crabbe is very excited to be a Brooklyn Net.

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. – “I’m here late, but better late than never,” Allen Crabbe said with a big grin on his face as Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets introduced him.

Better late than never, indeed.

It’s been 380 days since the Portland Trail Blazers matched Brooklyn’s offer sheet to the restricted free agent (at the time). Sean Marks has been strategic in his ways when dealing with restricted free agents and the Trail Blazers learned that the hard way.

One year later, the Nets ended up with their ‘Plan A’ who is excited and optimistic about his new opportunity in Brooklyn.

How excited? This excited: He said that when his agent called him Monday at Miami International Airport with news that he could be traded. He had to decide whether to waive his trade kicker, which amounted to $5.6 million. He agreed ... happily.

“I left it there,” he joked. "Doesn't hurt too bad.” He noted that it was the Nets who inserted the kicker in the first place.

“This is the team that gave me the money. What I make now isn’t too bad so I don’t think the $5 million is gonna hurt too bad,” Crabbe said with a smile. For the record, Crabbe will make $19.3 million this season.

Then, he talked about the future.

“It’s going to be different around here,” Crabbe added. “It’s not going to be the same as last year. They did a great job this off-season and I’m just excited. You hear a lot of positive things about the organization and coaches and where we’re headed -- building with the right guys together with the mindset of turning this organization around, try to make the playoffs and be successful.”

Playoffs is a hefty word for a team that’s coming off a league-worst 20-62 record, but Crabbe feels the same way Kevin Garnett did: anything is possible.

“Anything is possible. I feel like we made the right moves this offseason by bringing in the right guys, by bringing in guys who want to win. I feel like once that culture is built everybody is going to buy in.”

There’s that culture word again. Crabbe sat down with Marks and Atkinson last July and they discussed the culture, system, etc. Here’s what he told NetsDaily about the meeting in an exclusive last November:

The direction this organization is headed in with the coach, and then the new GM coming from the Spurs organization and trying to bring that here to Brooklyn. You want to play for a team like that, a team with a culture that’s looking to win. I felt like that was a big thing for me, especially playing in Portland and making the playoffs every year. So yeah, winning is important and it isn’t all about the money but I really felt like they were going in the right direction and that really drew my attention.”

In other words, he bought in from the start and although he hasn’t spoken to Kenny Atkinson since last off-season, he says he’s ready for his expanded role.

“I talked to him [Kenny Atkinson] last year when the whole offer sheet went down. He spoke about incorporating me into the team. I definitely understand the defense and just the new system – I’m just really excited to start training camp and the season.”

Sources say Crabbe will start at the 3 for Kenny Atkinson’s Nets. He’ll be a vital part in the pace and space motion offense after shooting at 44 percent from deep last season. His role will be much bigger with the young and rebuilding Nets.

“It all comes with experience, Crabbe said about adjusting to a bigger role. “You know, the more I’m put in a situation the more I’m going to learn; run it effectively and do certain things. It’s what any basketball player can ask for is an expanded role.

It's definitely [an appealing style of play]. I know they shoot the three ball so that’s something I’m really excited about. This team is going to get up and down the floor so I’m excited.”

At 25-years-old, Crabbe is the seventh oldest Net and the eighth youngest. He is the median. The average age of the team is 24.8. He’s coming off two seasons where he averaged a little more than 10 points per game and shot 44 percent from deep. He was somewhat of an afterthought in the Blazers offense with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum owning the spotlight.

“In Portland they had two great guards but sometimes you have to make a move for your own career and I feel like this is going to be the best place for me.”

He’ll have a chance to take his game to a new level in Brooklyn while wearing the number 33 on his back.