Tony Allen

Southwest Notes: Landale, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Bane

Big man Jock Landale, who signed with the Spurs last month after spending last season with Melbourne United, referred to Australia’s National Basketball League as “the best place to be” for players trying to make jump to the NBA. In an appearance on the NBL’s The Huddle podcast, Landale praised the league’s willingness to let players pursue NBA opportunities.

“I think the NBL does themselves such a service in having that leniency to let people go and pursue that dream, that people now look at it as a legitimate pathway,” Landale said.

Landale signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Spurs as a free agent this offseason. While the second year isn’t guaranteed, the first season is, so he’s in position to make San Antonio’s 15-man squad.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic was underwhelmed by the Pelicans‘ offseason, giving the team a grade of D-plus for its summer moves. While Harper liked the acquisition of Jonas Valanciunas and New Orleans’ deal with Josh Hart, he believes the club significantly downgraded its backcourt, calling the Devonte’ Graham signing a “pretty bad” deal.
  • While the city of New Orleans was hit hard by Hurricane Ida, the Pelicans‘ Smoothie King Center only sustained “minor exterior damage,” according to the team. The Pels will be able to play their home games there this fall without issue, as Christian Clark of NOLA.com details.
  • The Grizzlies plan to retire the jerseys for two key members of the team’s “Grit and Grind” era, announcing (via Twitter) that they’ll retire Zach Randolph‘s No. 50 on December 11 and Tony Allen‘s No. 9 on January 28.
  • Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane is changing agents, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, who tweets that Bane has left Seth Cohen of SAC Sports Family and is in the process of hiring new representation. Bane is still two years away from being extension-eligible for the first time.

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Valanciunas, Grizzlies

A number of people within the Pelicans‘ organization believe New Orleans would have been a guaranteed playoff team in 2019/20 if Zion Williamson had been healthy all season, writes Will Guillory of The Athletic. As such, it’ll be fascinating to see how the club approaches potential roster changes during the coming offseason.

As Guillory notes, given the strides made by Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball, the Pelicans could be in position to become a legit contender in the West in 2020/21, but it remains to be seen if head of basketball operations David Griffin is ready to get aggressive and go all-in.

Of the Pelicans’ key veterans, Derrick Favors will be a free agent, while Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick will be entering contract years, so running it back with those players is one option, but the club will have flexibility to make more substantial changes to its roster, as Guillory writes.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • As part of his usual Friday column for ESPN.com, Zach Lowe tracks Jonas Valanciunas‘ development from a young prospect who “spoke broken English (and) struggled calling out coverage on defense” to one of the NBA’s most underrated and reliable traditional big men. The Grizzlies‘ center has recorded 14.9 PPG with a career highs in RPG (11.2) and FG% (.586) in just 26.3 MPG this season.
  • Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the role that former Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen has assumed with the franchise. Allen has worked with several Memphis Hustle players in the G League this season, most notably former No. 4 pick Josh Jackson. “I let him know what he’s doing,” Allen said of Jackson. “He takes it in. He’s not one of them guys who get stubborn and doesn’t want to hear it. He takes it. And when he gets the message, it carries over on the execution side in live play.”
  • In case you missed it, earlier this week, we examined where traded 2020 draft picks would land if the NBA season doesn’t resume. Every Southwest team except the Spurs has either traded or acquired 2020 picks.

Atlantic Notes: Walker, Embiid, Kanter

Celtics point guard Kemba Walker will return to the court tonight less than a week after he collided head-to-head with teammate Semi Ojeleye and had to be taken off the court in a stretcher.

“It was a scary moment for myself,” Walker said (via Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com). “When I was in the moment, it was pretty tough to be in, obviously. I know it was scary for everybody…It was tough, but thank God I’m OK.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (video link) hears that scouts around the league aren’t worried about Joel Embiid. Embiid has struggled this season (by his standards) with a new-look roster around him on the Sixers.
  • Enes Kanter says he is “disappointed that former Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving won’t be making a return to the court in Boston today, as Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston relays. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, and now he’s hurt and not playing? I’m really disappointed. But there’s two games, of course, and he’s going to come back. And… we’re going to welcome him somehow,” Kanter said.
  • Former Celtics guard Tony Allen said he’s long been a fan of Marcus Smart‘s game and applauds Smart’s improvement from behind the arc, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald passes along. “I won’t say he’s my protégé, really, but he’s become that 3-and-D player everyone wants,” Allen said. “With what he does defensively, he’s also become a shooter. He’s really transitioned to the new game.”

2017/18 Buyout Market Summary

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, much attention is being paid to what is expected to be several weeks of busy buyout market activity. The last day that a player can be waived from their current team and still be eligible to play in the postseason with a new team is March 1.

Below are a series of lists breaking down the veterans who have already been bought out – or simply waived – by their respective teams since the trade deadline, along with those who are expected to be, and several more who really ought to be considered possible buyout candidates even if no reports have come out explicitly stating as much.

As the weeks unfold, we may see new names surface as buyout candidates, in such cases (and whenever a player is formally bought out) we’ll update the list.

Potential buyout candidates:

Expected to be bought out or released:

  • None

Veterans who have been bought out or released:

Thunder, Rockets Emerge As Suitors For Tony Allen

A week after having been shipped out of New Orleans, veteran wing Tony Allen has been waived by the Bulls. If the 36-year-old shooting guard clears waivers on Sunday, TNT’s David Aldridge says the Thunder and Rockets will be among the teams bidding for his services.

While Allen had been used marginally for the Pelicans through the first half of the season, he’s a famously effective perimeter defender, perfect for a Houston team in need of defensive depth on their second unit or a Thunder squad desperate to fill the vacancy left by Andre Roberson.

In 12.4 minutes of action for the Pelicans this season, Allen averaged 4.7 points per game. In 27.0 minutes per game during the 2016/17 campaign with the Grizzlies, however, The Grindfather put forth a respectable 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per.

Allen figures to be one of several big name players on the buyout market this season, so committing a roster spot now isn’t without its drawbacks, but Allen’s skill set will be an indisputably enticing one for team’s looking for depth on their bench.

Bulls Waive Tony Allen

A week after acquiring him from the Pelicans, the Bulls have waived veteran guard Tony Allen, the team announced today (via Twitter). Assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers, Allen will become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday.

Allen, 36, appeared in 22 games this season for the Pelicans, averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.1 RPG in a very limited role (12.4 MPG). He has been sidelined since mid-December due to a fracture in his leg, though he recently told TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) that he has been medically cleared to return to action.

The Pelicans included Allen in last week’s trade that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans in order to clear some salary and open up a roster spot. The veteran was never in Chicago’s plans, but the Bulls held onto him through the trade deadline in case they were able to include him a trade and extract a tiny bit of value, as they did with Jameer Nelson. Bulls executive John Paxson said on Thursday that the club would speak to Allen’s agent to determine whether or not he’d be waived — now, it seems Chicago is giving the 14-year veteran a chance to sign with a playoff team.

While it remains to be seen whether Allen will be scooped up right away by a contender, the Thunder were said to have some interest in him. Because he’s on a one-year, minimum salary contract, Allen could be claimed off waivers by any team besides the Pelicans. If he clears waivers, his modest 2017/18 cap hit will remain on the Bulls’ books.

Bulls Notes: Paxson, Lopez, Holiday, Allen, Dunn

The Bulls were relatively quiet as the trade deadline passed on Thursday, completing a pair of minor deals involving Noah Vonleh and Jameer Nelson. Chicago’s major move came when the team dealt Nikola Mirotic to the Pelicans, which netted the team highly-coveted draft picks.

Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, is happy with the Bulls’ moves and is excited about the future, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes. Paxson compared draft picks to gold for teams as his franchise restocks for the future. In particular, Paxson likes having future high picks to go along with the young talent already on the roster.

“We look at it this way: We got the three young guys [Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn] when we made the [Jimmy Butler] trade for last year, we’re going to have two [first-round] picks most likely in this draft, and we’ve got Bobby [Portis] and Denzel [Valentine] as young guys,” Paxson said. “That’s seven young pieces, and we just need to continue to develop them, grow, and make the smart decisions, not get in a rush.’’

Check out other Bulls news and notes below:

  • Paxson said that the Bulls were offered several multiyear bad contracts in trade talks, but the team was not comfortable taking on significant money that went beyond the 2018/19 season, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Paxson added that the Bulls were comfortable taking Omer Asik in the Mirotic trade because he is set to make just $3MM in 2018/19.
  • While the Bulls could have traded Robin Lopez and/or Justin Holiday, Paxson said their value as veteran leaders and teammates was too important to the club, Johnson tweets.
  • Tony Allen, who was acquired as part of the Mirotic trade, was reportedly set to be waived by Chicago. However, Paxson said the team will have a discussion with Allen’s agent before deciding on his future, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets.
  • Point guard Kris Dunn is out of concussion protocol but he is still not ready to return, per the Associated Press. Dunn has missed the Bulls’ past eight games; he’s averaging 13.7 PPG and 6.4 APG for Chicago this season.

Latest On Thunder’s Search For Wing Help

With Andre Roberson sidelined for the rest of the season, the Thunder are on the lookout for help on the wing. With less than 48 hours left until the arrival of this year’s trade deadline, let’s check in on the latest reports on OKC’s options…

  • There’s a “growing expectation” that the Thunder will make a move in advance of the trade deadline, since there’s a lot riding on this season, says ESPN’s Royce Young. Oklahoma City would prefer not to give up rookie Terrance Ferguson in a deal for a veteran rental though, Young adds.
  • TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) identifies Maurice Harkless and Tony Allen as two potential targets to watch for the Thunder. Harkless would be an interesting fit, though it may be difficult for the Trail Blazers and Thunder to figure out a deal, since both teams are projected taxpayers and will be reluctant to add salary. As for Allen, Aldridge tweets that the veteran swingman has been cleared to play after recovering from his broken leg, but will need some time to get back to full speed.
  • The Thunder have done “due diligence” on Clippers guard Avery Bradley and Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons, per Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. Mannix suggests that the Thunder might wait until closer to the deadline in the hopes that teams’ asking prices come down, noting that they could also wait until after the deadline and take their chances on what’s expected to be a “robust” buyout market.
  • Within his trade deadline preview, Jake Fischer of SI.com writes that the Thunder have shown interest in Clippers guard Lou Williams and expressed “serious” interest in Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans.
  • Oklahoma City has also been linked to Rodney Hood.

Robin Lopez Trade Talks Intensifying

After sending Nikola Mirotic to the Pelicans last week, the Bulls remain on the lookout for more potential trades, with Robin Lopez among the candidates to be dealt. According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, talks centering on Lopez have “intensified” as of late, with this year’s deadline just three days away.

Lopez, 29, is averaging a career-best 12.6 PPG this season to go along with 4.8 RPG, a career-high 2.1 APG, and a .525 FG%. While Lopez’s per-minute rebounding numbers in 2017/18 are the worst of his career, he continues to be a respected defender with a reputation for effectively boxing out opponents and allowing his teammates to grab boards.

A report last week suggested that the Bulls are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Lopez, which may be a tough sell. Although the veteran’s contract isn’t toxic, he’s Chicago’s highest-paid player, with cap hits of $13.79MM this season and $14.36MM next year. In order to have a chance at a first-rounder for Lopez, the Bulls would probably need to take on a bad contract, as they did in the Mirotic trade when they acquired Omer Asik.

Lopez isn’t the only trade candidate on the Bulls’ roster, according to Johnson, who notes that Jerian Grant continues to be available. Recently-acquired veterans Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson are also being kept on the roster in case they can be used in larger packages or traded on their own. Johnson reported over the weekend that the Bulls and Thunder have discussed Allen.

Bulls Notes: Nelson, Allen, Grant, Dunn

Newly acquired Bulls Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen shouldn’t get too comfortable in Chicago, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Both players served as salary fillers in the deal that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans, and neither may remain with the Bulls after Thursday’s trade deadline.

‘‘We now have a situation where we’re invested in these young guys,’’ said VP of basketball operations John Paxson. ‘‘Our focus remains on growth and development of them. This is consistent with what we set out to do on draft night.’’

The term “young guys” doesn’t describe Nelson, who turns 36 next week, or Allen, who reached that age last month. They may be able to provide short-term help for a contender, but they don’t have a place on a rebuilding team like the Bulls. They also carry affordable, expiring deals, with salaries of about $1.43MM for Nelson and $1.47MM for Allen.

There’s more news today out of Chicago:

  • Cowley suggests in the same piece that Paxson would be willing to move anyone on the roster except Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn in exchange for a young player or draft pick, even if it means taking on a large salary in return. That’s what the Bulls did in the deal with the Pelicans, absorbing Omer Asik‘s contract to obtain a top-five protected first-rounder from New Orleans. “To acquire a [protected] first-round pick in the trade for Niko I think fits the direction this team is heading,” Paxson added. “Obviously, we’re going to have our pick, which will be a very high pick, and then we’ll see what happens with that New Orleans pick.’’
  • The Thunder have talked to the Bulls about acquiring Allen, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Oklahoma City needs defensive help in the backcourt after a ruptured patellar tendon knocked out Andre Roberson for the rest of the season. Chicago has been offering up point guard Jerian Grant around the league for several weeks, Johnson adds.
  • An illness has complicated Dunn’s return from a concussion he suffered January 17, Cowley writes in a separate story. Dunn was progressing through the early stages of concussion protocol before getting sick. He has been ruled out for Monday’s game at Sacramento and may not play again before the All-Star break. Dunn still needs to finish the protocol and get some practice time before he will be cleared to return.