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Now that the top-tier free agents are beginning to sign their names on the dotted line, teams across the league are focusing their attention on the lesser-known talent available.
One of the players garnering interest in Boston’s very own Tony Allen.
The 28-year-old shooting guard has had his share of up-and-downs throughout his six year career, whether it was injury, off-the-court issues, or just inconsistent play. However, there’s no denying that Allen has made a living in the NBA defending premier guards.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoops World, there are at least four teams that have talked with Tony Allen. The most intriguing of the four, which include the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets, is the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last month during the NBA finals, the Lakers witnessed first-hand the defensive job that Allen did against Lakers all-star Kobe Bryant. Before his showdown with Bryant, Allen contained current free agent LeBron James. It’s safe to say that the 2010 finals boosted Allen’s stock. Just two years ago around this time, Allen received zero interest from any of the other teams in the league before signing a two-year, $5 million dollar deal to stay a member of the Celtics.
With multiple teams showing interest in Allen’s services, Allen is in perfect position. Not only can he dictate where he lands, but Allen is able to drive up his asking price.
Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge has said that the Celtics have talked with Allen, but negotiations haven’t started. After drafting University of Texas SG Avery Bradley in the first round of the NBA Draft, Ainge may have known that the interest would be there for Allen. Bradley, who is nearly the same size and build of Allen, has an all around game similar to that of the former Oklahoma State Cowboy. Both players can defend, both players have a hard time creating off the dribble, and both players are very athletic. The one difference is that Bradley has the ability to hit the outside shot, something that has hindered Allen in the past.
In the NBA, where so many are fixated on leaping ability, 3-point shooting, and exotic dunks, it’s nice to see some teams valuing the art of defense — for a change. Allen is nowhere near an offensive marvel, and never will be; he’s only averaged 7.2 points-per-game during his career. But he’s the type of player that can come in and stop your best scorer.