With the NBA Trade Deadline officially three weeks away (February 6, 2020), it’s been relatively quiet around the league in terms of rumors and activity. Thanks to General Rosas and the Human Trade Machine Sachin Gupta, that has all changed:
Atlanta has traded guard Allen Crabbe to Minnesota for PG Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham, league sources tell ESPN. Hawks get a backup for Trae Young.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 16, 2020
And just like that, the Jeff Teague era in Minneapolis has officially come to an end. In short, this is the transaction equivalent of shuffling deck chairs on a cruise ship, with all three players involved in this deal being on expiring contracts after this season (Allen Crabbe at $18,500,000, Jeff Teague at $19,000,000, and Treveon Graham at $1,600,000).
Nevertheless, the deal makes sense for both Minnesota and Atlanta — the Wolves were desperate for outside shooting, and now control Crabbe’s bird right if they decide he fits as a complimentary piece going forward (he’s still only 27). As for the Hawks, they have been desperate themselves to add a ball handler behind Trae Young, and possessed a chest of expiring deals (Chandler Parsons, Evan Turner, and Crabbe) to make a deal like this work (luckily for the Wolves, they got the one expiring contract who can actually still produce on the floor).
Final thoughts — with the Wolves sending out more players than they will be taking in (#math), this obviously opens a roster spot for additional moves down the road. Whether or not the Wolves actually hold onto Crabbe is one thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this new, fresh roster spot is used to sign a young G-League guy (*winks at Kelan Martin*) to a deal similar to what Naz Reid got (Martin is nearing the end of his allotted 45-days as part of the two-way contract he signed with Minnesota back in August 2019).
As for some popular Twitter reactions:
Minnesota isn't done making moves after dealing Jeff Teague to Atlanta for Allen Crabbe. The Wolves have been in talks with teams in search for another ball handler, per league sources. They recently went after Pacers PG Aaron Holiday, but those talks went nowhere at the time.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 16, 2020
Not an earthshaking deal but one that eliminates two players with no future in Minnesota--Teague and Graham--and brings in a legit outside shooter. Crabbe's contract is an expiring so a good kick-the-tires move for Rosas.— brittrobson (@brittrobson) January 16, 2020
Allen Crabbe is in the final year of his contract. Expiring for expiring. Wolves try to address a need for shooting, but don't hamper long-term flexibility.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) January 16, 2020
So in the end, the Wolves sent out two players who had very little value to the franchise going forward, replaced them with a shooter, and added a roster spot, which means this “way too early” trade grade is a definite A. With three weeks until the deadline, we can expect Rosas & Co. to continue to be aggressive as they finally start putting their stamp on the roster leading up to what is likely to be another insane summer of transactions.