Tag: Tony Allen

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

Tony Allen says he wants to play about five more years, all in Memphis


Tony Allen is the soul of Memphis’ grit and grind style. He’s one of the game’s best on-ball defenders, and he finds a way to get enough offense to make it work. It’s not always pretty, but it’s effective.

Allen has spent the past five seasons with the Grizzlies — last season he scored 8.6 points a game and improved to a respectable 34.5 percent from three — and he told the Commercial Appeal he wants to finish his career in Tennesee.

“I can’t envision myself no place else,” he said. “I got about five more years.”

Allen is 33 right now, so we’ll see about five years. Allen has two seasons left on his deal at a very reasonable $10.7 million total. He will be a free agent in 2017, and a lot of teams likely will have interest in him — and with the spiked salary cap he could see a raise — but it sounds like Memphis will be able to keep him.

Allen was understandably frustrated with how the Grizzlies’ season ended. They fell to the Warriors in the second round, a series that turned when Golden State switched Andrew Bogut onto the injured Allen defensively (which allowed Bogut to patrol the paint and dare Allen to beat them with his inconsistent jumper).

“When they pulled that strategy, man, I was hurt,” he said. “If they try that s—- again …

“Had I been healthy, and they had somebody (like Bogut) on me, I probably would have showed up in a different way in a game as far as rebounding, steals,” Allen said. “Them putting Bogut on me simply affected our team because of injury.”

He may well get a chance to prove his point. Memphis is going to need a healthy Tony Allen, plus Matt Barnes and the rest of the wings to knock down some outside shots, but they will be in the mix in a once again very crowded Western Conference.

Nominees for first ever NBPA “Players Awards” are out

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Michele Roberts is giving the players what they want as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association  (the NBA players’ union). She knows she needs their loyalty during the looming 2017 lockout, so she’s trying to build up good will now. She’s doing the little things that resonate with players. Like questioning why there are media in the locker rooms before games. Or pushing back against the owners on the age limit.

Or giving the players their own chance to vote on the big NBA awards (most postseason awards, such as MVP or Rookie of the Year, are voted on by the media).

The first ever “Players’ Awards” will take place July 19 at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas (and be broadcast on BET July 21). Every NBA player was given the opportunity to vote in a variety of categories, and Thursday the list of nominees was released.

Here they are:

Best Rookie
Jordan Clarkson
Zach LaVine
Elfrid Payton
Andrew Wiggins

Best Defender
Tony Allen
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
DeAndre Jordan

Global Impact Player
Pau Gasol
Kyrie Irving
Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker

Clutch Performer:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Coach You Most Want to Play For
Mike Budenholzer
Rick Carlisle
Steve Kerr
Greg Popovich

Hardest to Guard
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Best Home Court Advantage
AT&T Center (San Antonio)
Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Moda Center (Portland)
Oracle Arena (Golden State)

Player You Secretly Wish was On Your Team:
Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis
Tim Duncan
LeBron James

Most Valuable Player:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

That list looks pretty similar to the media awards, upon first glance. Save for no Kawhi Leonard or Draymond Green as best defenders. Also, no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the category naming the players with the greatest global impact?

Whether you think these awards are more fair or accurate than the traditional media ones largely will depend on whether your guy wins in his category. For example, don’t be shocked if James Harden wins the Players Award MVP, so if you were a Harden guy you will think the players got it right after the media screwed it up.

I’ll just say this: Don’t think they are less biased than the media. Players have a lot of agendas — they will vote for guys with the same agent, AAU buddies, their friends, and on down the line. There is plenty of bias to go around.

Challenges of Memphis series primed Golden State for Finals comeback, win


They had been there before.

They had been down 2-1 to a grinding team who had a defender  opposing fans thought was their “Curry stopper.” The Golden State Warriors had been pounded inside before in these playoffs. They had heard the “jump shooting teams can’t win in the playoffs” before.

Golden State had heard all of that against Memphis — and they made a key adjustment and rattled off three straight wins.

That helped prepare them for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA Finals — where the Warriors again made an adjustment and rattled off three convincing wins.

“Going into the playoffs and playing a Memphis, where that’s a tough team to beat.  All that stuff primed us for this moment,” Draymond Green said drenched in Champaign after the Warriors had completed their comeback against the Cleveland Cavaliers and won an NBA title. “It primed us for our non-shooters to make shots.  It primed us for somebody to think they can stop Steph Curry and then all of a sudden you see Steph Curry.  It primed us for we’re too small, we’re a jump shooting team, it will never work.  It primed us for all of that.

“So playing in the Western Conference on the daily, nightly basis, night to night, it gets you ready for everything.  That’s why I think it’s the best conference in the NBA because you see all brands of basketball.  So all of a sudden you run up against the Cavs and, I mean, LeBron James is great.  There is no one like him.  But you’re prepared for everything else because we’ve seen everything.”

Against Memphis in the second round, the adjustment was to ask big man Andrew Bogut to defend light-shooting guard Tony Allen. That allowed Bogut to hang back and protect the rim, helping out on Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, and not pay a price.

Against Cleveland, there were a few adjustments but the key one was to sit Bogut and start Andre Iguodala — to go small. Bogut barely played the final few games, and more offensive bigs like David Lee got key minutes and run. The shorthanded Cavaliers could not adjust.

“Game 3 of The Finals we figured something out in the fourth quarter, and we decided to go small,” Lee said after the win. “On any other team, a guy like Andrew Bogut is angry and causes a fit.  Instead, he’s the first one up cheering off the bench.  So everybody has had their time to shine this year and that kind of sacrifice is how you win championships, and we were able to bring it home.”

The Warriors players to a man praised the chemistry on the team.

“That’s one thing you don’t see that often in the league,” Iguodala said in an interview on NBA TV. “You got stars and guys who want to be stars. Guys are ‘me, me, me, I want to get paid. I want to be a superstar. I want to have my own shoe.’ But we got just a great group of guys. Management did a great job, I don’t know if they knew personalities and how to match them, it’s crazy because we all really like each other. 

“Teams say that all the time but you know guys don’t really like each other that much. You have three or four cliques — they hang out, they hang out, they hang out. But we had like 10 guys go to dinner, eight guys go to the movies. We had like seven guys go to the movies last night. We all can joke with each other, we throw punches each other and nobody takes it personal.”

In the end, the roster that shot too many jump shots was able to make the adjustments and win the NBA title. Coach Steve Kerr said he knew they could because of what they did on the other end of the court.

“Everyone wanted to talk about how many threes we took.  We’re the number one defensive team in the league, and that’s what wins,” Kerr said. “You’ve got to be able to score points somehow, but you have to be good defensively.  You have to be great defensively to win a title. For whatever reason, that seemed to be overlooked this year.  But the combination of the offense and the defense, that matters, and I don’t think people pointed that out enough.”

They should now.

Steve Kerr’s openness to new ideas has Warriors on brink of title

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

OAKLAND — It’s been noted a lot in the past few days: Golden State decided to go small and start Andre Iguodala over Andrew Bogut at the suggestion of Nick U’Ren, a 28-year-old with the title “special assistant to the head coach” who is sort of a jack of all trades for the Warriors.

The last time the Warriors were down 2-1 in a series against Memphis, it was assistant coach Ron Adams who first suggested putting Andrew Bogut on Tony Allen defensively, the creative and brilliant adjustment that changed that series around.

In both cases, head coach Steve Kerr listened to the ideas, liked them, implemented them and they have the Warriors on the brink of an NBA title. Golden State is up 3-2 over the Cleveland Cavaliers can close out the series Tuesday night with a win in Cleveland.

These two instances are high profile, but it follows the pattern of being open to input the Warriors have had all year, said assistant coach Luke Walton.

“Another thing Steve’s been great at is he wants an open line of communication with everybody…” Walton said before Game 5. “Sometimes we’ll have a plan we come down with and Draymond (Green) or Andre (Iguodala) or both of them, or whoever, will say ‘we want to guard it like this.’ And we’ll scrap what we did upstairs and say we’ll do it the way you guys want to do it, and if it’s not working this is how we’ll make the in-game adjustment.”

Not all coaches work that way. Not even close. Often it is more of a top-down dictatorship. Kerr wants to hear what everyone says. Even the special assistant to the coach in texts at 3 am.

“Coach Kerr always tells us, ‘I listen to anybody — video guy, video intern.’” Draymond Green said. “Those guys watch a ton of film. You know, sometimes they may even watch more film than coach does, they’re the ones breaking it all down. So it just says a lot about Coach Kerr’s character that he would listen and get it worked out.”

Kerr, despite his rings as a player and a pedigree that includes playing next to Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan, is fairly egoless as a coach. He’s modern in that way, more like other successful new coaches (Brad Stevens in Boston, Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix). It’s a collaborative effort.

And it’s working.

It may even get Kerr another ring. And the first title for the Warriors in 40 years.

Report: Mike Conley won’t sign contract extension with Grizzlies

Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Six

The Grizzlies have built a strong identity behind Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and Tony Allen. Memphis is tough, defensively oriented and eager to make an impact in the paint.

But Gasol’s free agency has potential to unravel everything.

And even if the Grizzlies sweat it out and re-sign the center, they’ll have to do it all over again with Conley in 2016.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Can’t the Grizzlies, in the name of stability, try to lock up Mike Conley for the long term before he ends up on the open market like Gasol?

The Grizzlies would love to.

Sources say, furthermore, that they’ve tried to engage Conley in extension talks. More than once.

But the five-year, $40 million pact they signed Conley to in 2010 — openly second-guessed all over the NBA map at the time — proved to be too shrewd.

Conley has a base salary of $9,388,426 next season. An extension, officially signed after June 30, could start at just 107.5 percent of that and last just three years. That’d be $32,548,499 over three seasons, though the Grizzlies could offer Conley a chance to earn 15 percent more each year in incentives.

But a new contract signed in 2016 – when the salary cap will skyrocket – could be much more lucrative. Conley’s max won’t be known until that summer, but it projects to be about $145 million if he re-signs and about $108 million if he signs elsewhere.

Here’s the max Conley could get guaranteed on an extension (gold), new contract with Memphis (dark blue) and new contract elsewhere (light blue):


Season Extension New contract with MEM New contract elsewhere
2016-17 $10,092,558 $25,238,066 $25,238,066
2017-18 $10,849,500 $27,130,920 $26,373,779
2018-19 $11,606,442 $29,023,775 $27,509,491
2019-20 $30,916,630 $28,645,204
2020-21 $32,809,485
Average $10,849,500 $29,023,775 $26,941,635
Total $32,548,499 $145,118,877 $107,766,540

Conley probably won’t draw a max contract in the new landscape, but the potential exists for him to earn SO MUCH more on a new deal than an extension. It is a risk for someone who has put his body through so much.

It’s a bigger risk for the Grizzlies, who face yet another core player going into unrestricted free agency.

Unfortunately for Memphis, it’s also a reality of this extension-limiting Collective Bargaining Agreement.