Tony Allen, New Orleans Pelicans agree to one-year contract

By @saihoops on
Tony Allen
Dec 14, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) defends a pass in the first quarter by Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) at FedExForum. USA TODAY Sports / Nelson Chenault

Veteran forward Tony Allen and the New Orleans Pelicans have agreed upon a one-year contract worth US$2.3 million (AU$2.8 million) contract, according to reports. Allen would be adding much-needed depth to the New Orleans, a roster that will be without starting small forward Solomon Hill, who recently suffered a hamstring injury. 

Allen, one of the best perimeter defenders of his generation, struggled to generate interest during the free agency period despite making the NBA All-Defensive Team for the sixth time in seven seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies. Allen was often credited for Memphis' hard-nosed playing style and was given the nickname of the "Grindfather," while the FedExForum came to be known as "The Grindhouse."

There were reports of championship-contenders such as Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets pursuing Allen -- mostly due to his extensive postseason experience. However, none of those teams were in position to offer Allen the veteran minimum contract. The Pelicans created cap room for Allen after trading Quincy Pondexter to the Chicago Bulls earlier this month.

Tony Allen joins Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins

As aptly described by The Ringer, while Allen's addition would help Pelicans shore up its defense, the team would still lack three-point shooting and adequate scoring to match-up against the elite teams. Earlier in the offseason, the Pelicans added veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, besides signing Jrue Holiday to a five-year contract worth US$126 million (AU$157 million). 

"Now Allen joins a Pelicans team that can certainly make use of his defensive acumen but is still very much searching for a way to open up space for its supersize frontcourt of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins," the report says. "Allen, a 27.8 percent career shooter from deep, won’t help much on that front. In fact, a potential starting lineup of Rajon Rondo (30.4 percent career 3-point shooter), Jrue Holiday (36.6), Allen, Davis (29 percent), and Cousins (33 percent) would quite possibly be the worst 3-point-shooting lineups in the league. Good luck, Alvin Gentry!"

The New Orleans Pelicans won 34 games last season. Since drafting Anthony Davis, the team has reached the playoffs only once. While several analysts feel the duo of Davis and Cousins can lead New Orleans to the playoffs, there are those who believe the team lacks the needed depth to compete against the elite.