Ariza provided the pop the Blazers lineup needed, averaging 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 21 games with the Blazers.
He was the answer in the short term. However, due to a family matter, Ariza has opted not to play with the team in Orlando. This once again leaves the Blazers with a hole in the lineup.
Well… never thought I’d say this, but I don’t oppose signing Evan Turner
— 𝗙ɪᴠᴇ ɴɪɴᴇ 🏴☠️ (@BoltzBlazersFan) June 22, 2020
— subcomandante marcus (@nba_poop_hat) June 23, 2020
There’s a handful of names out there that the Blazers could look at…Shumpert, JR Smith, Gerald Green, maybe even bring Allen Crabbe back.
— Jason Peterson (@jpsperspective) June 22, 2020
NBA Window Transaction projections:
Portland Trail Blazers
They have an open roster spot and are the most likely team to sign a veteran FA for a playoff run.
Allen Crabbe (POR 2014-2017) stands out as an intriguing option.
— John Markisch (@Real2KInsider) June 9, 2020
Who do the Blazers NEED to sign right now?
— Dan Sheldon (@DanSheldon620) June 29, 2020
Unfortunately for Blazers fans, Turner isn’t an option.
ET was traded to the Timberwolves earlier this season but never played a single game for the Timberwolves. While he was a buy-out candidate, he was never officially waived by the Timberwolves.
So, not only is Turner not an available Free Agent, it doesn’t make sense for Minnesota to cut him at this point.
Turner isn’t a three-point threat like Ariza, but his defensive awareness and ability to run the second-unit make him valuable. Just look at his performance in the playoffs for Portland last season.
Again, while ET would be fun to have back, he just isn’t a realistic option.
Crabbe, however, is.
One month before the Hawks traded Turner to the Timberwolves, they traded his teammate Allen Crabbe to Minnesota.
Crabbe played nine games with the Timberwolves and was waived on February 29th.
Crabbe struggled this season averaging 4.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 0.9 assists over 37 games played. Still, he would be valuable to the Blazers at this point.
He offers them the size they need and has the perfect skill set to replace Ariza. The Blazers love a good three-point shooter, and Crabbe is shooting 38.7% for his career.
Crabbe would also likely be asked to start at the three, and he has had success in the starting five. He started 68 games for the Brooklyn Nets in 2017-18 and averaged 13.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game, all career-highs.
But what Crabbes offers more than anything is chemistry and knowledge of the system.
Crabbe came to Portland via the Cleveland Cavaliers on a draft-night trade in 2013. That’s right, you may not remember but Crabbe was a Trail Blazers rookie with CJ McCollum.
Crabbe spent four seasons in Portland, meaning he has four seasons of experience playing alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, as well as four years under head coach Terry Stotts.
He is the only wing on the market that Portland can sign and get up to speed without a major hiccup, and that is huge.
The Blazers already have to re-integrate Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic into the lineup. The last thing they need is a new starting small forward with no experience in the system. Starting from scratch with two weeks before the season starts is not ideal.
But with Crabbe, the Blazers could avoid that dilemma and hit the ground running.
Is Crabbe the savior? Is he the missing piece to the championship puzzle? No, he’s not. But he is a perfectly good solution to an unforeseen problem.
Portland is unlikely to make a signing before heading to Orlando, but if they do Allen Crabbe just makes sense.
Making the case for an Allen Crabbe return to Rip City originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest