So there was this thing earlier this week—dunno if you heard—but there was this rumor that the Grizzlies were fielding trade offers for Tony Allen. Yeah, not sure how you missed that one either, but as you might imagine, people got pretty upset at the thought of a Grizzlies team sans Allen, as integral a piece to the team in its successful seven year run as any other member in that time span.
But here are some things you should read before truly freaking out about a potential Tony Allen trade.
First: The Grizzlies will not trade Tony Allen (unless they get a jaw-dropping offer, which, why would a team overpay for Allen?).
Second: You’ve heard this before I’m sure, but the NBA is a business, and businesses are always looking for ways to make themselves better. It would be poor judgment, and maybe even downright rude, not to field trade offers from other teams. If I’m an NBA GM, I’m listening to offers for every player on my roster even if I know there is -100,000 percent chance that I’d trade certain players. You never know when a rival team might overstep its bounds in trying to get a player it covets.
Third: To be fair, Allen is 34, and turning 35 soon. That’s right around the time a player’s production really starts suffering. Additionally, Allen is on the last year of his contract, which pays him only $5 million per year. That’s an incredible contract for a player with a defined and desirable NBA skill. Now would be as good a time as any to trade a player like Allen.
Fourth: But the Grizzlies will not trade Tony Allen.
For a number of reasons, but mainly because one of the main components of the Grizzlies’ sustained success has been their continuity. It’s a big factor in why they have been ultra clutch over the past six seasons. It’s a huge reason why their defense has been elite in the Grit n’ Grind era.
While many of the league’s upper echelon teams in the GnG era have faded (Dallas, the Lakers, Miami, Indiana, Orlando) or have risen to power in the midst of it (Golden State, Cleveland, Toronto), only two other teams have built or maintained an identity around a core group that has lasted as long and as successfully as the Grizzlies: The Clippers, and of course the Spurs. Continuity breeds success.
Additionally, think about where Memphis might be sending Allen. Any team seeking Allen will be doing so in the hopes of improving itself (no duh), but really the only teams looking to improve themselves are playoff teams, whether on the fringe hoping to sneak in or at the top trying to pull even with the Warriors or Cavs. These teams—Portland, LAC, or Oklahoma City to name a few—are direct competitors with Memphis. Why would the Grizzlies trade a human wrecking ball of chaos on defense to a team they may see in a playoff series? Allen may not be a guy who can single-handedly win you a game, but he is the kind of player who can tip a playoff series in your favor.
So if you were freaking out earlier this week about a possible Allen trade, just chill out for a second. He’s too important to this team and city for a normal trade offer to pry him away.