As we inch closer to the NBA trade deadline on February 23rd, rumors are beginning to heat up about which teams may be interested in making a move, and just who might be available. By this point in the season, teams are beginning to get a feel for where they are in the league’s pecking order, and they are assessing what the best path will be for them moving forward.
There are a number of rumors out there, but one of the most recent ones is also one of the most surprising. According to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, the Memphis Grizzlies are fielding offers for defensive terror Tony Allen:
Teams are gauging interest in Tony Allen and Griz are listening, per sources. Griz engaged T'Wolves with Allen trade talk in 2014.
— Ronald Tillery (@CAGrizBeat) December 18, 2016
Allen may be past his prime, but he is still one of the best lock-down wing defenders in the league, and he has the endorsement of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant to prove it. There should be plenty of playoff contenders interested in his services, particularly with teams that have to worry about potentially defending Kevin Durant, Paul George, LeBron James, or Kawhi Leonard in the playoffs.
That said, it’s a bit strange that Memphis is looking to deal the fan-favorite Allen. He is on an expiring contract, so it’s possible the Grizzlies simply fear Allen walking this summer and receiving nothing in return, but they are firmly in the playoff mix in the Western Conference with a record of 18 wins and 11 losses, and they don’t seem likely to risk shaking up their chemistry by parting with Allen, who has been a starter for most of the season and is averaging over 27 minutes per game.
From the Lakers point of view, Allen would be a welcome addition to their sub-par defense, as would his veteran presence around their young players. However, Los Angeles is already fairly set on the wing with Luol Deng, Brandon Ingram, and a resurgent Nick Young all on the roster, so they wouldn’t appear to be a great trade partner with the Grizzlies, although that also depends on exactly what Memphis is asking for in return.