Apr 17, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) points to the other end of the court after a foul is called against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half at Target Center. The Grizzlies won 91-84. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
The great Tom Ziller over at SB Nation main put together his list of the Top 50 free agents for the 2013 season. No surprise as who the top two players are, with Chris Paul and Dwight Howard leading the way, but a little further down it starts to get interesting.
In fact, our very own Tony Allen makes the list at No. 18, which seems reasonable. I mean, if you were to make a list of the top free agents based on their current salary, Tony would be among the Top 5. But, yes, he's due for a pretty major increase in his annual rate, seeing as he's only locked up at $3.3 million this season.
Allen, one of the NBA's most ... interesting characters and best wing defenders, will be up for grabs in 2013, barring an extension. Last season was actually the first time in his career that he averaged more than 25 minutes a game. He's been a credible enough scorer to get those minutes, thanks to the rest of Memphis' offensive prowess. (Word up to Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph.) But for whatever reason Lionel Hollins didn't keep him in late in playoff games. Allen, who has made two straight All-Defense teams, will be 31 when he becomes a free agent, and is making only $3.3 million this season. Expect him to get a nice raise.
Word up to Gay and Randolph, indeed.
I do agree with his assessment of Allen, but I would argue that he's probably more valuable than a few guys (or guy) ahead of him on this list: namely, Marvin Williams. I mean, guys like Williams are a dime a dozen, right? Unselfish, lock-down wing defenders like Allen are pretty rare in this league. Show the man some respect, Ziller!
But, to nitpick and say that Allen should be the 17th most valuable free agent in 2013 is pretty ridiculous. We know that he's going to be heavily sought after this summer, so it's probably in the team's best interest not to let it drag out and get him signed before the start of the season.
Also, left out of this discussion is what Allen means to the fans and the franchise as a person and personality. If the Grizzlies lost Allen to free agency, wow, look out! Memphis-folk might not care if the team moves or not. "You let Allen walk!? Whatever, move the team the Anaheim, see if I care!"