While cornerstone pieces like Mike Conley and Marc Gasol remain under contract for multiple years, the Grizzlies will see some key players hit the open market this summer, including Tony Allen. Speaking today to the media after Memphis was eliminated from the postseason, Allen said he’s “not trying to break the bank” in free agency and is “confident” he’ll return to the Grizzlies, per Ronald Tillery of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link).
Allen had previously expressed a desire to stay in Memphis, likening the possibility of leaving to a “divorce” and suggesting that he didn’t want to think about that scenario. At the time, the veteran guard said that he’ll always be a Memphian even if he doesn’t re-sign with the club.
Allen, 35, is coming off his 13th NBA season, and has spent the last seven of those years in Memphis. His production has remained remarkably consistent during that seven-year stretch — he has never averaged fewer than 8.4 PPG or more than 9.8 PPG, and continues to provide the club with solid defense on the wing, though he missed the end of this season – and the playoffs – due to a calf injury.
Allen’s salaries during that stretch have also been fairly consistent. He earned $3MM in his first season with the Grizzlies back in 2010/11, and has seen that figure rise a little each year — he made about $5.5MM in 2016/17.
With nearly $93MM in guaranteed salary already on their books for 2017/18, the Grizzlies won’t have the flexibility to use cap room if they intend to re-sign Allen and/or Zach Randolph. Still, they hold Allen’s Bird rights, allowing them to offer him anything up to the max. Despite Allen’s assertion that he’d not looking to “break the bank,” another modest raise seems fair if he intends to remain in Memphis.
JaMychal Green, who is eligible for restricted free agency this summer, also said today that he hopes to return to the Grizzlies, indicating that Memphis “feels like home” for him (Twitter link via Tillery).