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Report: Timberwolves still over luxury-tax line after Allen Crabbe buyout

Former Timberwolves wing Allen Crabbe

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - JANUARY 20: Allen Crabbe #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during the third quarter of the game against the Denver Nuggets at Target Center on January 20, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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Update: Allen Crabbe didn’t surrender quite as much money as initially reported. Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights:

Four NBA teams are over the luxury-tax line.

The Trail Blazers, Heat and Thunder aren’t huge surprises. They’ve each paid the tax multiple times in the last decade and are still at least in the playoff hunt.

The Timberwolves are an outlier. They haven’t paid the tax since 2007, and they’re plunging toward one of the NBA’s very worst records.

It’s not too late for Minnesota to dodge the tax, though. The luxury tax is assessed the final day of the regular season. So, the Timberwolves – who were $1,136,270 over the luxury-tax line – can still trim salary through waivers and buyouts.

That started with buying out Allen Crabbe.

Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News:

James Johnson has a $242,000 incentive for body-fat percentage and weight. Presumably, stemming from his time with the Heat, he won’t earn that.

Subtract Johnson’s bonus and Crabbe’s salary reduction, and Minnesota would be just $144,270 over the tax line. So close. Yet, so far.

An Evan Turner buyout went nowhere. One is technically still possible, but he wouldn’t be eligible for the playoffs elsewhere. So, that seems unlikely.

The Timberwolves could waive someone like Jacob Evans, Omari Spellman, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jaylen Nowell or Naz Reid. If that player gets claimed, Minnesota would dodge the tax. The Heat (Rodney McGruder) and Bulls (Erik Murphy) have made similar moves in recent years.

At minimum, buying out Crabbe will save the Timberwolves some money – even if they don’t escape the tax entirely. Really, the biggest surprise is that he relinquished so much. A rest-of-season minimum contract would pay Crabbe $515,744. But he was floundering in Minnesota and clearly ready to leave.