Those who know me well know that Tony Allen is actually my second favorite Celtic, right behind Paul Pierce, and one of my favorite reserves in the league. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Grizzlies blog, the Grizzlies are signing Celtics guard Tony Allen to what's likely to be a 3 year, $10 million contract. The Grizzlies were expected to attempt to retain Ronnie Brewer, who they traded a first round pick for last season, but appear to have chosen Allen instead.
For several years the 6'4" swingman with a 6'9" wingspan was one of the worst Celtics in the rotation because of his raw offensive game, which was to be expected after being drafted 25th overall, but this past season Allen found his niche. He often took the court over free agent pickup Marquis Daniels, and excelled at guarding the other team's best isolation scorer, especially LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Allen is expected to remain a defensive specialist in Memphis, though he is also known for high-flying dunks and effective finishes around the basket. He is essentially a slightly less gifted Ronnie Brewer, but will likely be significantly cheaper than Brewer.
For that reason the Grizz will likely be pandered for effectively giving away the first-round pick traded to the Jazz, but its important to remember that the front office could not have predicted Brewer would have a season ending injury in his first game. Had Brewer actually played for the Grizz, he would likely be returning. Since he did not, the Grizzlies drafted Xavier Henry and no longer need to spend the full MLE for another swingman.
With the number of wings on the roster, it's difficult to anticipate the role Allen might play on the team. With O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay as starters, and Xavier Henry likely to play at least 16-20 minutes at either position in reserve, it's likely that Allen will be used mostly in discretionary situations, such as to cover shooters with a particularly hot hand. Or it could forebode a future move, O.J. Mayo has been on the trading block before.