Minnesota Timberwolves admit mistake by cutting bait with Allen Crabbe

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - JANUARY 20: Allen Crabbe #9, formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - JANUARY 20: Allen Crabbe #9, formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

On Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled the plug on the Allen Crabbe experiment, waiving the veteran shooting guard.

Back in mid-January, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded the expiring contracts of Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham to the Atlanta Hawks for the expiring contract of Allen Crabbe.

At the time, it made sense that the Wolves were moving out a non-shooter in Graham and a reluctant shooter yet ball-dominant point guard in Teague in favor of a player who, at least theoretically, was a capable 3-and-D shooter.

Crabbe, after all, was a 39.3 percent 3-point shooter prior to this season. While he had been given a massive contract back in 2016 by Portland, he was still a positive contributor, albeit a vastly overpaid one.

The Wolves planned to reunite him with assistants David Vanterpool (who coached Crabbe for four years in Portland) and Pablo Prigioni (two years in Brooklyn) and a system focused on 3-point shooting would bring out the best in Crabbe.

Unfortunately, they were off-base. Before being bought-out on Saturday, Crabbe appeared in only nine games for the Wolves, shooting just 6-for-26 (23.1 percent) on 3-point attempts and struggling on both ends of the floor.

At the time of his acquisition, it was fair to assume that the Wolves were leaving open the possibility of re-signing Crabbe to a much more modest deal this summer as a potentially key bench contributor. Alas, that appears to not be the outcome that either side desired after roughly six weeks of an apparently rocky marriage.

On the one hand, this doesn’t really matter. Crabbe’s contract was expiring, and he wasn’t going to be a regular contributor following a series of recent developments: Malik Beasley joined the team, Jake Layman returned from injury, and Kelan Martin has been impressive and is emerging as a legitimate rotation option.

On the other hand, it means that Teague’s $19 million expiring contract was essentially wasted. While we don’t know exactly how it was viewed on the trade market — perhaps it had less value than we think and the Hawks deal was as good as things were going to get — it still feels as though an asset was mismanaged.

Remember, Gersson Rosas noted following the mid-January trade about the the attractiveness of acquiring Crabbe’s Bird rights, which would have given them the inside track on retaining Crabbe in the offseason. That doesn’t matter now, and Crabbe won’t be back.

Next. The importance of playing the younger Wolves players. dark

At any rate, it’s probably a good thing that the Wolves were decisive in cutting bait, and they can now concentrate on expanding the roles of Martin and second-round pick Jaylen Nowell over the final six weeks of the season.