According to Ron Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Memphis Grizzlies are listening to potential suitors for the services of Tony Allen via trade.
Allen, who is on the last year of his contract, would surely be an attractive piece to any team looking to improve defensively. He remains one of the best defenders at his position in the NBA, ranking at the top of ESPN’s Real Defensive Plus-Minus and continuously making the lives of players like Klay Thompson difficult when it comes to getting clean looks at the basket. He also is still limited offensively, especially with regard to long-range shooting.
There are definitely arguments for a trade of TA (better offensive player in return, get something for him before he leaves for another place potentially in free agency). But a potential move of Allen also brings about questions.
- Who exactly would be interested in his services? Memphis almost traded Allen to the Minnesota Timberwolves two years ago - would Tom Thibodeau be interested in getting a man of Allen’s talents on the young Wolves? What about teams like the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, or Boston Celtics? These are teams that may well be contenders in their respective conferences, but could use a talented defender who could bring energy and an ability to slow star players like Thompson, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, or LeBron James in the playoffs.
- What is his worth? Surely the Grizzlies wouldn’t part with Allen, a signature piece of their success of the past going-on seven years, for a small sum. A second round pick probably wouldn’t do it. But a wing who can score off the bench may be of interest for the Grizzlies. Shabazz Muhammad of Minnesota, Sam Dekker of the Rockets, Cory Joseph of the Raptors, and Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics would all be names hopefully on the radar of Memphis, although in the case of Smart, Joseph, and Dekker, more would probably be needed from Memphis to get those deals done. A couple second round picks, perhaps?
- How does it impact the culture of the Grizzlies? “All heart, grit, grind” started with Tony Allen. Of course he didn’t build an entire identity by himself, but there’s no denying that a trade of “The Grindfather” will potentially frustrate not only devoted fans, but also the roster itself. David Fizdale has done a tremendous job shaking up the core Grizzlies to this point in terms of new wrinkles and energy, but a trade like this would be a real test for him and the Grizzlies front office of just how bought-in the veterans of the Grizzlies are to this new vision.
Memphis has overachieved to this point, considering their health issues. After last night’s loss to the Utah Jazz, the Grizz are now solidly in the six seed in the early Western Conference playoff picture. Could a trade be what the Grizzlies need to improve their bench scoring as James Ennis and Chandler Parsons return from injury?