Mixed among his notes on the Cavaliers and other NBA topics, Bob Finnan of The News-Herald writes that it appears Cleveland has interest in signing Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen as an unrestricted free agent this summer. As Finnan notes, Allen would likely shore up Cleveland's defense, which allowed 106.9 points per 100 possessions, tied for fourth worst in the league. Owner Dan Gilbert alluded to new coach Mike Brown's "much-needed defensive-first philosophy" when Brown was hired last month.
Allen, named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team last season, is the main perimeter stopper for the Grizzles, who allowed the second fewest points per 100 possessions in the league this year. He has expressed a desire to remain with Memphis, and earlier this season, he brought up a conversation he had with Zach Randolph about staying with the Grizzlies until they both retire. Still, Allen isn't unwilling to test free agency, telling Shaun Powell of Sports on Earth in February that, "I'd like to stay but whatever happens I'm cool with it."
Allen struggles with his shot, as Finnan points out, and this year he made just 12.5% of his three-point attempts. Despite 44.5% shooting from the field overall this season, he's made 47.5% of his career field goal attempts, displaying an ability to maximize his offensive strengths. Allen is making $3.3MM this season, but an unnamed Eastern Conference general manager told Chris Mannix of SI.com in March that he believes the 31-year-old is in for a slight raise, with a three-year contract at $4MM annually.
The Grizzlies created financial flexibility with a pair of trades this season, but accommodating that sort of contract for Allen this summer would once more make it difficult for the team to maneuver, as our Luke Adams detailed last month. Adams believes Allen will come back to Memphis, perhaps at a slight discount, but the Cavs, with ample cap space this summer, could make that decision difficult with an above-market offer. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cleveland GM Chris Grant try to overpay for a player who fits the team's renewed commitment to defense.