Tony Allen

Southwest Notes: Rondo, Allen, McLemore, Parker

The Pelicans won’t have to wait much longer for Rajon Rondo‘s season debut, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters tonight that he expects Rondo to be ready in about a week to 10 days. Rondo underwent surgery for a sports hernia on October 10 and was projected to be sidelined four to six weeks. He was expected to take over at point guard after signing with New Orleans in July.

There’s more tonight from the Southwest Division:

  • Tony Allen was held out of tonight’s game with left knee inflammation, but the Pelicans were prepared for occasional absences when they signed the 35-year-old guard, writes William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. Gentry called the condition minor and said it shouldn’t be a long-term concern for Allen. “It’s going to be that way throughout the season,” Gentry said. “He’s got a lot of years and a lot of miles on him. There’s going to be little hurts and pains that may keep him out a game or so, but it’s not anything that I’d spend any time worrying about.” Allen has been a valuable reserve for New Orleans, averaging 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12 games.
  • Ben McLemore saw his first action for the Grizzlies tonight after signing with the team in July. McLemore had to undergo surgery in August after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal on his right foot during a summer pick-up game. He is expected to add more scoring punch to an already deep Memphis team after averaging 9.4 points per game during four seasons in Sacramento. “I’ve been working really hard on rehab and things like that to get back into game shape and being able to play my first game this season, so I’m excited,” McLemore said in an interview tweeted by the team.
  • The Spurs will have Tony Parker back soon, according to a post by Michael C. Wright on ESPN Now. Coach Gregg Popovich said his point guard continues to make progress in rehab, and Parker has expressed hope that he will be cleared to play by the end of November. He was originally expected to be out of action until January after rupturing a left quadriceps tendon during the Western Conference semifinals.

Pelicans Notes: Crawford, Cousins, Allen, Rondo

The Pelicans would have preferred not to lose Jordan Crawford, who was waived today to make room for Jameer Nelson, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. Crawford, who originally signed with New Orleans in March, was fitting in well in a reserve role. He was effective in the preseason and was averaging 9.0 points and 3.5 assists in the Pelicans’ first two regular season games.

Crawford had the misfortune of owning the only contract on the roster that wasn’t fully guaranteed. New Orleans will only owe him $250K, and that will be wiped out if he is claimed off waivers. The team saves a little bit on the two transactions, as Nelson’s veterans minimum salary is less than Crawford’s $1.7MM cap hit. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets that the Pelicans, who have been hit hard by injuries in the early going, tried to get assurance from the league that they will be granted an injury exception after their third game Sunday night, allowing them to add an extra player. When that request was denied, they had no choice but to waive Crawford.

There’s more today out of New Orleans:

  • DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25K for an altercation with a fan Wednesday in Memphis, the league announced on its website. The fine was for “directing inappropriate language towards a fan” in an incident near the end of the game. A technical foul assessed against Cousins was rescinded.
  • Former Grizzlies guard Tony Allen admitted to being nervous as he returned to Memphis for the Pelicans’ season opener, relays Mark Giannotto of The Commercial-Appeal. Allen still has fondness for the city where he helped to create the “grit and grind” culture over the past seven seasons. “I had so many jitters in my body. Butterflies,” Allen said. “Whatever you want to call it, I was a little nervous. But I’m glad they got that over with. It’s a lot of love for the city, a lot of love for the fans. I appreciate that.”
  • Rajon Rondo may not be guaranteed a starting spot when he recovers from sports hernia surgery, writes Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com in a look at 10 questions surrounding the team. Jrue Holiday will resume point guard duties while Rondo is sidelined, and Duncan speculates that the Pelicans may not want to tinker with success if things go well without Rondo. Duncan adds that coach Alvin Gentry and GM Dell Demps will be reluctant to take any chances because they need the team to be successful to keep their jobs.

Southwest Notes: Moore, Aldridge, Pensacola

The absence of Rajon Rondo during the first month or so of the regular season will open up more of an opportunity for Pelicans combo guard E’Twaun Moore, William Guillory of The Times-Picayune writes.

Moore, who head coach Alvin Gentry says will probably start the club’s October 18 season opener, averaged a career-best 9.6 points per game for the Pelicans last season.

Back at full health after a 2016/17 campaign in which he nursed turf toe, Moore will look to validate the Pelicans’ decision to ink him to a four-year, $34MM contract last summer.

In limited time with the Pelicans’ starting core, Guillory writes, the group posted an impressive plus-16.4 net rating.

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Heading into his third year with the Spurs, big man LaMarcus Aldridge is embracing a larger leadership role, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes. “I’m not the rah-rah guy,” Aldridge said. “I think people know that about me from my Portland days. But just trying to make sure guys are in the right spot, trying to teach guys how to play defense and know the principles and help guys stay positive and things like that.
  • The wheels are in motion for the Pelicans to land a G League team, now they’re searching for a city to host the franchise. The current favorite, Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days writes, is Pensacola.
  • The Grizzlies will welcome Tony Allen back to the FedExForum this week and both general manager Chris Wallace and owner Robert Pera have released statements about his time with the franchise. In a post on the team’s official site, Pera goes so far as to say that the Grindfather’s jersey will one day hang in the rafters.

Pelicans Notes: Rondo, Cousins, Allen, Crawford

New Pelicans point guard Rajon Rondo is confident that Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins can be effective together and he’s eager to be part of that process, relays William Guillory of The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Rondo, who is with his fifth team in the past four years, said the big-man tandem played an important role in his decision to sign with the Pelicans. “They’ve only had a couple months together, I don’t count pretty much last year even though they did play together,” Rondo said. “I think those two guys are capable of being two of the best bigs to ever play this game as a duo. That’s pretty high expectations, but they have the talent to do it.”

Rondo had prior experience with Cousins when they were in Sacramento together in 2015/16. Both excelled that season as Rondo led the league with 11.7 assists per game and Cousins averaged 26.9 points. Coach Alvin Gentry said he likes the idea of pairing Rondo with incumbent point guard Jrue Holiday because it gives him two players capable of running the offense.

There’s more today out of New Orleans:

  • Cousins believes his on-court chemistry with Davis is already much better than it was last season, Guillory writes in a separate piece. The All-Star big men didn’t have much time to prepare as they were thrown together after Cousins was acquired from the Kings during All-Star weekend. They spent the summer working out in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and Cousins describes their relationship as “smoother” now that camp has started. “We’re figuring out our high-low game a lot more. We’re picking our spots: Who’s the guy to pop? Who’s the guy to roll,” Cousins said. “Last year, it would be times where we would run into each other or be on top of each other.”
  • After being a starter in Memphis, veteran guard Tony Allen knew he couldn’t count on that role when he signed with the Pelicans, Guillory adds in another story. Allen, who agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary contract two weeks ago, expects to see his playing time vary from game to game based on matchups. “I’m going to be put in situations or lineups where some days I might start, some days I might play five minutes,” Allen said. “It’s just being ready to do whatever it takes for the team to win ball games.”
  • Jordan Crawford, who joined the Pelicans on a 10-day deal in March, tells Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com that his best moment as an athlete was getting back to the NBA after two years out of the league. After the Warriors elected not to re-sign him in 2014, Crawford played in China and the G League before getting an opportunity with New Orleans.

Pelicans Sign Tony Allen To One-Year Deal

SEPTEMBER 15: The Pelicans have officially signed Allen, announcing their deal today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 11: The Pelicans are finalizing a one-year contract with veteran swingman Tony Allen, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

Barring a late breakdown in negotiations, this ends a prolonged free agent odyssey for the 35-year-old defensive stalwart. Early in the process, the Clippers were reportedly interested in working out a sign-and-trade deal for Allen until their roster got overloaded with newcomers. The Timberwolves were also interested, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reported.

It was apparent that the Grizzlies were moving on from Allen when one of the free agents they signed, shooting guard Ben McLemore, broke his foot and they still didn’t show any serious interest in Allen.

New Orleans needed another small forward after Solomon Hill suffered a torn hamstring, an injury that is expected to sideline him for most of the upcoming season.

Allen has only played for two teams in his NBA career. He spent his first six seasons with the Celtics before joining Memphis for the 2010/11 season. He was a rotation player for the Grizzlies over the past seven seasons and started 66 games for them last year. Overall, he appeared in 71 games and averaged 9.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 1.6 SPG in 27.0 MPG. He’s a career 28% shooter from long range, which has made him an increasing offensive liability in a league that has become heavily reliant on 3-point shooting.

Allen should still see quite a bit of action at both small forward and shooting guard, where Jrue Holiday is expected to start with the addition of point guard Rajon Rondo. With the offensive firepower provided by Holiday, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans can afford to have a defensive specialist at the wing spot.

As for the terms of Allen’s one-year deal, those haven’t yet been reported, but the Pelicans still have their bi-annual exception ($3.29MM) available and have a bit more breathing room below the luxury tax line after trading Quincy Pondexter earlier this month.

Pelicans Notes: Cunningham, Crawford, Allen, Luxury Tax

The Pelicans aren’t finished with roster moves after the reported additions of Tony Allen and Perry Jones, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Dante Cunningham, who declined his player option in April, remains a possibility, along with other players who can defend both forward positions.

The 30-year-old Cunningham spent the past three seasons in New Orleans, serving as a part-time starter. He averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 66 games last year, 35 in the starting lineup. Cunningham opted out of a $3.1MM salary for 2017/18, but may have to settle for less now that training camps are just two weeks away.

There’s more today out of New Orleans:

  • With significant roster turnover during the past two seasons, the Pelicans are focused on building team chemistry before the start of camp, writes Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com. One of the organizers of a voluntary team gathering last month at the University of Kentucky was newly signed point guard Rajon Rondo, who got the idea from Kevin Garnett in Boston. “One of the things [Rondo] brings to a team is he makes players understand that we are in this together,” said Jordan Crawford, who joined the Pelicans in March. “You might think of it as a defiant attitude or something like that, but it’s really [having the perspective] that the coaches are part of this team, but they’re not going to be on the court with us.”
  • Allen personified the “Grit and Grind” era in Memphis and should bring the same toughness to New Orleans, writes Chris Herrington of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Herrington recounts some of the defensive specialist’s highlights with the Grizzlies and says games this year won’t be the same without him.
  • The expected signing of Allen leaves the Pelicans $3.27MM under the luxury tax and $3.85MM away from a hard cap, according to Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. The team is up to 13 fully guaranteed contracts, with Crawford, who has a $250K guarantee, expected to fill another roster spot. The additions of Allen and Jones give New Orleans 17 players for camp, with three slots still open.

Southwest Notes: Noel, Green, Allen, Nene

By accepting a $4.1MM qualifying offer, Mavericks center Nerlens Noel has created a financial drama that will last through the season, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. He decided to take the one-year deal after consulting with his new agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, whom Noel just hired this week. It was an unexpected end to negotiations for the third-year big man, who reportedly turned down a four-year, $70MM offer earlier this summer.

Noel is betting that he can get something close to the max as an unrestricted free agent next year, but Townsend notes that he is also taking a serious risk after missing the entire 2013/14 season after knee ligament surgery. He has played 75, 67 and 51 in the three seasons since then. By refusing the original offer, Noel cost himself about $11.5MM this season and will need a new deal starting at about $20MM to make up the difference.

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:
  • Noel’s decision gives the Mavericks about $12MM in unexpected cap space, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN [insider account]. Only the Bulls and Sixers have more, although the Suns could surpass Dallas if Alex Len also accepts a qualifying offer. The Mavericks will be in position to help facilitate trades and acquire assets throughout the season. They may also benefit next summer from Noel’s small cap hold, which is estimated at about $8MM. Noel finished just one start short of the cutoff for “starter criteria,” which is 41 starts or 2,000 minutes in the previous season. His qualifying offer would have been $5.85MM if he had met that standard.
  • The Grizzlies are willing to go above the $2.8MM qualifying offer to re-sign restricted free agent JaMychal Green, but won’t meet the price he wants, according to Chris Harrington of The Commercial Appeal. He adds that Tony Allen won’t be returning to Memphis, even after free agent addition Ben McLemore suffered a broken foot. Harrington thinks a return to Boston would be the best move for Allen.
  • Memphis still has one two-way contract remaining, and Harrington advocates giving it to someone with professional experience rather than an undrafted rookie. His choice is 23-year-old Vince Hunter, a 6’8″ power forward who played with the Grizzlies’ summer league team and has experience in the G League and overseas.
  • After re-signing with the Rockets this summer, veteran center Nene is eager to see new addition Chris Paul join James Harden in the backcourt, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype“It will be an unbelievable experience to play with James and Chris,” he said. “James is the best offensive player in the game and Chris is an amazing ball player as well. They can score from anywhere on the court and they both have a basketball IQ that’s off the charts.”

Five Notable Wings Still Available In Free Agency

While the Grit and Grind Era will always represent a special time in Memphis, the Grizzlies have moved on and Tony Allen appears to be a casualty of the transition. Fellow grinder Zach Randolph was able to secure a two-year, $24MM with the Kings, but Allen hasn’t been able to land a lucrative deal of his own.

Early in free agency, the Clippers were reportedly interested in working out a sign-and-trade deal for Allen, but after making several additions, Los Angeles isn’t in a position to offer much more than a minimum salary arrangement. The Wolves also had interested in the swingman, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reported several weeks ago, though we haven’t heard much on Allen joining either of those clubs since.

Allen previously indicated that he wasn’t looking to break the bank in free agency. He also said he’ll be a Memphian for life. It’s possible he returns to the Grizzlies on a minimum salary deal, something they may have planned for him. However, it remains to be seen whether taking a hometown discount and taking the minimum are the same in Allen’s eyes.

At age 35, Allen isn’t going to learn how to shoot at a league-average level, something that becomes more of an issue during the NBA’s second season. He remains one of the better perimeter defenders in the league and he was a useful rotation player last season.

The Grizzlies could use a swingman to help solidify their rotation; so could the Wolves, Clippers, Mavericks, and Pacers. Allen should be able to help out a team in need of wing depth, though he’s not the only option on the market. Here are some other notable options available:

  • Anthony Morrow— Shooting is as important as its ever been in the NBA, which bodes well for Morrow should he find his three-point shot again. He’s a career 41.7% shooter from behind the arc, but he shot under 31% last season. Morrow, who turns 32 in September, will likely see another opportunity in the league. However, his flaws on the defensive end may force him to wait until closer to training camp to find a home.
  • Gerald Green — Green saw some minutes for the Celtics on the backend of their rotation last season before seeing a slightly larger role in the postseason. It’s plausible to think that his work in the NBA’s second season would boost his stock, but we haven’t heard much about him garnering much interest on the market. The 31-year-old has enough left in the tank to help a team in need of wing depth, though he’s another athlete who will likely have to play the waiting game.
  • Brandon Rush — Several teams have reportedly checked in with Rush, including the Mavericks, Heat, and Pacers. Dallas makes the most sense for the 32-year-old, as I recently detailed.
  • Shabazz Muhammad — Muhammad may be the most talented wing left on the free agent market. The Wolves pulled his qualifying offer earlier in the month, which rendered him to unrestricted free agency and the Hawks, Nets, Bucks, Knicks, Bulls, and Magic all were reportedly interested in the swingman. Yet, the UCLA product remains unsigned. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of deal and what kind of role Muhammad lands. It’ll also be interesting to see if the 24-year-old can expand his game beyond scoring, as he took 598 shots last season but dished out just 35 assists.

Ian Clark Wants More Than Minimum; Wolves Still Interested

Free agent Ian Clark is still hoping for more than the minimum salary, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

The Timberwolves are interested in signing the fourth-year guard shooting guard, who spent the past two seasons in Golden State. Tony Allen, formerly of the Grizzlies, remains another free agent possibility for Minnesota.

Clark has received multiple minimum-salary offers but is holding out for something better, according to Wolfson. The Wolves are operating just under the cap and already used their $4.3MM room mid-level exception on Jamal Crawford.

Clark appeared in 77 games for the Warriors last season, averaging 6.8 points per night and shooting a career-best 37% from 3-point range. He is seeking a raise from his 2016/17 salary of a little more than $1.015MM.

FA Rumors: Muhammad, Farmar, Mbah a Moute, Allen

The Hawks, Nets, Bucks, Knicks and Magic have all expressed interest in swingman Shabazz Muhammad, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Bulls are on that list as well, tweets Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Muhammad became an unrestricted free agent last week when Minnesota pulled his qualifying offer to create enough cap room to sign Taj Gibson. He has been with the Wolves for all four of his NBA seasons and averaged 9.9 points in 78 games last year.

There’s more tonight on the free agent front:

  • Jordan Farmar is hoping to return to the NBA and spoke to Lakers coach Luke Walton today about a possible opportunity, Kennedy relays (Twitter link). The 30-year-old point guard played two games for the Kings in November of last season.
  • The Raptors have talked about making a play for former Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, reports Michael Grange of Rogers Sportsnet (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers and Timberwolves are both considering Tony Allen, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Coaches Doc Rivers in L.A. and Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota have connections with Allen from their time with the Celtics.
  • Veteran point guard Beno Udrih is talking to several teams in Las Vegas, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Now 35, Udrih believes he can play for several more years. He got into 39 games with the Pistons last season.
  • Former Baylor standout Royce O’Neale is considering several NBA offers, according to Kyler (Twitter link). The 24-year-old forward went undrafted in 2015 and has been playing in Lithuania, but he has an NBA opt-out in his contract through July 20th.
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