PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Allen Crabbe was upset three years ago when he wasn’t selected until the second round of the NBA draft. His new contract with the Blazers alleviates some of that disappointment.
Crabbe, a restricted free agent, has re-signed with the Portland Trail Blazers, who matched Brooklyn’s four-year, $75 million offer for the 6-foot-6 wing.
He talked about the deal, finalized last week, on Friday at the team’s practice facility. Center Meyers Leonard also spoke about his new contact with the Blazers.
Crabbe was the 31st overall pick by Cleveland in the 2013 draft, but Portland traded two future second-round picks to acquire him. He called the experience of waiting for his name to be picked in New York as “terrible.”
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity that Portland traded up to get me,” he said. “I feel that it’s really worked out to my benefit over these three years. They’ve done a great job in developing me into the player I am today.”
Crabbe, who played at California, averaged career highs with 10.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 81 games last season, shooting 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range. He was the team’s leading scorer off the bench.
Neil Olshey, Portland’s president of basketball operations, called Crabbe a “foundational player” for the Blazers who grabbed the league’s attention in his breakout third season. He said there was never a question whether the Blazers would match offers that came his way.
“We all saw what he was able to do last season when he was given the opportunity,” Olshey said. “Those opportunities will increase as we go forward. He’s an incredible young player in this league.”
Leonard is staying in Portland for the next four years with a brand-new $41 million deal.
The 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Leonard averaged 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, which was marked by injuries. He dislocated his left shoulder in November and before having surgery in March for a torn labrum that cut short his season.
Leonard, who was surrounded at Friday’s news conference with family and friends, said he’s close to getting his full range of motion back.
“My hope is to be ready right around the start of the season,” he said. “It’s a progression, first introducing rebounding, grabbing stuff overhead, then one-on-one, three-on-three, extending to the full court. We’ll see. You just never know.”
It was a busy offseason for the Blazers, who also signed free agent forward Festus Ezeli, and acquired guard Shabazz Napier in a trade with the Orlando Magic for cash considerations. Portland also formally signed forward Jake Layman, acquired in a draft-day trade, as well as free agent wing Evan Turner.
Portland was one of the biggest surprises of last season, advancing to the second round of the playoffs with one of the youngest rosters in the league after losing four starters in the offseason.
“Last year it was the fork in the road with the veterans, and we had to choose a path,” Olshey said. “What we wanted was a model of young guys, whose rights we controlled, who wanted to be here, part of a set roster that can grow together. Now we’re just in the tinkering and playing in the margin. So I feel good about it. I think we maximized our cap room. We had some holes, maybe not positionally, but in terms of skill-set, that we identified. We were able to do, I think, a pretty admirable job in free agency.”