Tony Allen Injury: Updates on Grizzlies Guard’s Eye and Return

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen is currently nursing an eye injury, and there is no timetable for his return to action.

According to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, however, it looks as though the 32-year-old veteran could miss a significant amount of time:

Allen suffered the corneal abrasion in a Dec. 16 game against the Golden State Warriors after getting poked in the eye, per Teresa Walker of The Associated Press:

According to Grizzlies sideline reporter Rob Fischer, Allen dealt with a similar injury during the playoffs last season:

Allen is a key player for the Grizzlies as a defensive stopper and overall leader, but they have some breathing room as the first-place team in the Western Conference’s Southwest Division at 21-5.

The 11-year pro will be even more vital as the season progresses, so the best course of action at this point is likely to play it safe.

 

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Bulls Rumors: Chicago Would Be Ideal Fit for Ray Allen

The Chicago Bulls drafted sharpshooter Doug McDermott with the hopes that he would develop into a Ray Allen-type of player from beyond the three-point line.

Now, they may get the actual thing.

Jordan Schultz of The Huffington Post passed along the latest rumor surrounding the future Hall of Famer:

Don’t expect a decision from Allen anytime soon if Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders is to be believed:

Allen can’t really go wrong with any of those choices.

Cleveland would give him the opportunity to reunite with LeBron James and drill three-pointers as defenders focus on James and Kevin Love, San Antonio would provide him the chance to play with the defending champs under the genius that is Gregg Popovich, and Golden State has the best record in the NBAWashington is 18-6 and looks like a long-term contender in the Eastern Conference.

However, Chicago represents an ideal situation for Allen, one that would prove beneficial for both the player and the team.

Depending on what Allen wants at the age of 39, he could either be a primary contributor for the Bulls at small forward or shooting guard or serve as a dependable role player at the same spot who puts less minutes on his knees every game by coming off the bench.

After all, Jimmy Butler is the iron man in Chicago. He is averaging 39.6 minutes per game and is versatile enough to guard anyone from a point guard to a power forward. As long as Butler is healthy and on the roster to play nearly every minute of every game, there is not a pressing need for Allen to play significant minutes if he doesn’t want to at his age.

That is especially the case since Kirk Hinrich can play shooting guard alongside Derrick Rose when Butler is at small forward.

However, if Allen does want to play a significant role (which would make sense if he decides to come back at 39), small forward depth is a pressing question for the Bulls. McDermott and Tony Snell have been underwhelming behind Mike Dunleavy Jr., and Allen would immediately bolster that rotation.

In fact, underwhelming is putting it kindly since McDermott is scoring 3.2 points a night and, most disappointingly, shooting 23 percent from three-point range. Snell is an afterthought in the rotation and is scoring two points a game. What’s more, McDermott is now injured, which opens up even more potential playing time for Allen if he so desires.

The Bulls have a hole at wing depth behind Butler and Dunleavy, who is playing 31 minutes a game himself at age 34, and Allen has to recognize the opportunity is in place to play a major role for a title contender.

There is also a level of comfort already for Allen when it comes to coach Tom Thibodeau because of their time together in Boston when Thibodeau was an assistant coach.

Allen is a veteran who has likely played in some locker rooms with great chemistry and some without it, and familiarity with the coach could go a long way toward impacting his decision.

Allen would also have the chance to be something of a mentor in Chicago. McDermott was brought in to shoot threes, and Allen could take the Creighton product under his wing for the remainder of the season and serve as a leader.

Thibodeau discussed Allen’s leadership, via Mike Singer of CSNChicago.com:

When we were in Boston, in 2008, that was a great practice team. They were unreal. Maybe the best practice team I was ever with. They had (Kevin) Garnett, who was incredible. But you also had (Paul) Pierce and Ray Allen, and they were great leaders. They worked at it every day and wouldn’t let anyone take a day off.

Even as a potential leader, Allen wouldn’t be asked to do more than what he is best at in Chicago either.

The Bulls already have the defending Defensive Player of the Year in Joakim Noah and one of the league’s best perimeter defenders in Butler. Allen will never be expected to guard the opponent’s best player, which can be physically grinding for a 25-year-old, let alone someone who is 39 with years of NBA miles on his legs.

Instead, he can simply drill three-pointers when Rose penetrates and forces the defense to collapse or when Noah and Pau Gasol find him from the high elbow. Shooting is still what Allen does best, and he is likely looking for a place with plenty of weapons around him that would open up some looks from deep.

Allen would have the flexibility in Chicago to either play a major part in the push toward the title or serve as a role player, depending on what would be ideal for him at this stage in his career. He would also have the chance to be a veteran leader and a direct mentor for a future sharpshooter in the league.

Most importantly, if Allen chose the Bulls, he would have the opportunity to drill threes for one of the NBA’s most dangerous championship contenders. 

That should ultimately matter more than anything else.

 

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Bulls Rumors: Ray Allen Would Greatly Bolster Chicago’s Title Hopes

Ray Allen has two NBA championship rings and clearly wants a third, if this rumor regarding the list of teams he is choosing from is to be believed, via Jordan Schultz of The Huffington Post:

Allen would be a boost for any team on that list, but the Chicago Bulls’ title hopes would greatly improve if they landed the sharp-shooter.

They may have to wait a while longer to make that a reality, as Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, via Dan Woike of the Orange County Register: “I think in two or three weeks, he’ll start thinking about teams. I don’t think right now he is. I think he wants to get through the holidays. … I think he’s doing the right thing, honestly. He’s earned this right, to look at the teams and say, ‘I fit here,’ and jump if he wants to do that.”

If Allen decided that he fits in Chicago, the rest of the Eastern Conference will officially be on notice.

For one, it would keep Allen out of Cleveland and Washington. Considering the Cavaliers and Wizards may ultimately represent Chicago’s greatest threats in the Eastern Conference, that would be a win in itself.

On the actual floor, the first thing that stands out about Allen is his three-point shooting. This is particularly important for a Chicago team that was only shooting 36.5 percent from behind the three-point arc entering Monday’s game. What’s more, point guard Derrick Rose was at 30.5 percent, while shooting guard Jimmy Butler was at 29.1.  

Allen would get plenty of open looks just from how he would theoretically mesh with the Bulls’ personnel already in place. Rose has always been more of a penetrator throughout his career (even if he is shooting 5.5 three-pointers per game this season while he works his way back to full health) and can set Allen up by drawing extra defenders with his quickness and explosive first step.

There is also a strong interior game with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol and even Nikola Mirotic in Chicago, although Mirotic has ventured beyond the three-point line this season. Noah and Gasol are both known for their passing from the elbow and post, and any time an extra defender were to cheat down low, they would find Allen spotting up.

Allen has shot 40 percent from downtown over the course of his career and boasts a ridiculous 2,973 made three-point attempts. Somehow, Chicago would find some room in the rotation for that.

Allen also flashed his versatility in Miami last season when he was more than capable of playing some small forward. That is important for Chicago, because the small forward spot is something of a weakness if you prescribe to the theory that Mike Dunleavy, Doug McDermott and Tony Snell don’t make up a championship-level group at the position.

McDermott, who was supposed to be the three-point threat for the Bulls this season, is hurt, which opens up even a bigger hole to be filled.

Perhaps the best part of signing Allen in terms of championship hopes for Chicago, though, is that it would take away some of the minutes burden on Butler’s shoulders. He is the team’s best perimeter defender and is asked to play 40 minutes per game all while containing the opponent’s best player on the other end.

If and when the Bulls are locked up in a playoff series with the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors or Washington Wizards, Butler will be the one asked to guard LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan or Bradley Beal. The only way he will be able to do that effectively is by staying healthy and fresh through June.

Allen could spell Butler for extended stretches and keep No. 21 just a bit fresher before the playoffs.

Allen also brings a championship pedigree to the table, which should not be overlooked for a Chicago squad largely made up of players who have come close but never reached the NBA mountain top. Noah, Rose, Gibson and Butler, among others, have yet to win a ring, and adding a veteran leader like Allen could help in the huddle and locker room in the tense playoff moments that are sure to come. 

Allen will not shrink away from the spotlight in the most important games. Now the question is whether those important games will come with Chicago or some other team.

 

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NBA Rumors: Buzz Surrounding Lance Stephenson Trade, Ray Allen and More

December is a time of reflection for many people as they look back on the calendar year. The same can be said for many NBA franchises. By now, most teams have fallen into the patterns and rhythms that will likely carry them through the rest of the 2014-15 campaign.

It’s a safe enough distance from the start of the season that the successful teams can feel comfortable with what they’ve accomplished thus far and make plans to stay the course or up the ante if the team’s initial goals still feel a bit out of reach.

On the other hand, some NBA teams are feeling the blues as we head into winter, bright autumn hopes fading into faint glimmers. Nevertheless, the gears powering the NBA are in perpetual motion. As the temperatures dip, the rumors tend to heat up. 

Whispers of trades carry with them the possibility of teams beginning anew or at least becoming secure in the knowledge they have a valuable piece for a later season, while a notable free agent might very well be ready to come in from the cold.

Here are the latest rumors from around the Association.

Lance Stephenson

The Charlotte Hornets’ disastrous 6-17 start threatens to undermine the structure and integrity of a team desperate to put the horrid Bobcats era firmly in the past. Head coach Steve Clifford was able to steer this franchise to a 43-39 record last season, and while many of the players from that squad are still on the team, they’ve been unable to replicate the results.

As it stands, the Hornets could be prepared to excise the squad’s biggest offseason acquisition, one Lance Stephenson, in a bid to restore the same chemistry that brought success last year.

RealGM.com’s Shams Charania has the latest: 

Lance Stephenson has garnered fresh trade inquiries into the Charlotte Hornets’ front office recently and wouldn’t be opposed to a potential move to the Brooklyn Nets, but hopes to remain part of and succeed in his partnership with the Hornets, league sources told RealGM.

Four to five NBA teams have shown an interest to the Hornets on Stephenson, but no deal is imminent, Stephenson has made clear his desire to help propel a turnaround and both sides believe there’s still time to salvage a productive relationship and run with the franchise, sources told RealGM.

Certainly, Stephenson has acted as a destabilizing agent of some sort up to this point with numbers that are well off the pace of his successful 2013-14 campaign with the Indiana Pacers.

Still, he’s not all that is ailing the wayward Hornets. It’s quite clear that the core of last year’s team has degraded in 2014. Kemba Walker’s shooting just 36.8 percent, and his scoring has dropped from 17.7 points per game in 2013-14 to 14.9 this season. Al Jefferson‘s scoring is also down and, perhaps more importantly, the left-block leviathan is averaging 2.8 fewer rebounds per game this year.

As a team, the Hornets have gone from being ranked sixth in defensive efficiency last season to 24th so far this year, per ESPN.com.

Lockdown defender Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has only just recently come back from a foot injury and has missed 16 games in all this season, no doubt a significant blow to the team’s defensive stability.

Unless the Hornets can convince a team to part ways with a proven veteran who can fit seamlessly into Clifford’s squad or several assets to start what would be a painful rebuilding process, Stephenson should not be shown the door quite so soon.

Clifford believes that Stephenson, who is shooting a robust 44.9 percent in December, is finally getting comfortable with the Hornets.

“I would say that it has been a lot of factors,” he said after the Hornets’ 114-87 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, via Fox Sports Carolinas‘ Brett Jensen. “One has been his (groin) injury in the preseason, where he missed a significant amount of time. That hurt his conditioning. I think now he is just not getting comfortable playing with his new teammates and he has started to play better and better.”

He’s a young swingman with two-way capabilities who could serve as an effective backcourt partner for Walker for years to come (assuming all goes well and he re-signs with the team). 

The 29-year-old Jefferson has a player option for the 2015-16 season—it’s possible he could leave if the current iteration of the team lacks any sort of promise, but there’s no guarantee that a Stephenson trade would fix everything, and rookies like Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston still have time to develop. Scrapping the plans this early would be unwise, and there should still be plenty of opportunities next season in a frail Eastern Conference.

Unless it can be proven that Stephenson is a locker room poison, he should be given time to prove that he can be a remedy for a team off to an anemic start.

 

Ray Allen

Life must be good for Ray Allen. He is a 39-year-old who doesn’t need to work, has an unassailable NBA resume and, according to reports, is still getting recruited for his talents like a 5-star prep phenom. 

A report from ESPN.com passed along comments made by Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers on 95.7 The Game. 

“We threw our team out there at his representation, and I think they’re vetting what they want to do,” Myers said, via ESPN.com. “Obviously you’ve got to look at a guy like that. He’s a smart enough guy. He’s going to look around the league to see what’s best for him.”

The Warriors are off to a historically great start at 20-2 and could be devastatingly lethal from downtown with a lineup featuring Allen, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Fox Sports’ Jimmy Spencer was excited by the possibilities:

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers noted the team was interested in Allen’s services, per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register: 

Charania noted that several teams beyond those West Coast franchises are interested in the shooting guard, who has shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in his career: 

Ray Allen — the most coveted NBA free agent on the market — has heard from far beyond just five teams to consider, including interest from the Memphis Grizzlies, league sources told RealGM.

Allen’s agent, Jim Tanner, confirmed the wide range of interest on Saturday and added that the 6-foot-5 shooting guard has no timetable to make a decision on his playing future.

Despite a report on Saturday that he was choosing between the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors, Allen has not yet reached the stage to decide on any team. Memphis has gone 18-4 this season and has an open roster spot that could be used toward securing another shooter to the rotation.

It seems the list of teams interested in Allen is longer than a Cheesecake Factory menu, and he can certainly be selective if he does decide to come back and play this season.

The Warriors would be a very intriguing fit, but Allen is a step or two slow at his age and could have a negative impact on their top-ranked defensive efficiency, per ESPN.com. Then again, if Allen opens up the floor for the Warriors’ second unit, it could offset any decline in defensive play.

The Clippers are another intriguing possibility, but the likes of Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and Reggie Bullock are already soaking up plenty of minutes at shooting guard.

Allen should only be playing for championships at this point and could find the most playing time on the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team with Larry O’Brien aspirations that has a very thin bench, one that is shooting just 42.7 percent as a unit (per HoopsStats.com).

 

Jordan Hill 

The 7-16 Los Angeles Lakers have very few options when it comes to making trades, but that apparently hasn’t stopped teams from fielding calls about one of their most energetic players.

According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting Newspower forward Jordan Hill has drawn plenty of interest from teams around the league, but fans perhaps shouldn’t expect anything to come of it:

A contract that once looked overwrought now appears eminently fair, to the point where the Lakers are considered likely to exercise the $9 million option they hold on Hill’s deal next season. On a roster widely viewed as devoid of trade assets, sources told Sporting News that Hill is the one guy about whom the Lakers get realistic trade calls—but that LA has no plans to move him.

The Lakers are wise to stay committed to a player like Hlil.

The future is decidedly murky in Los Angeles considering Kobe Bryant‘s $25 million cap hit for 2015-16 and insatiable desire to win while his body holds up, but the Lakers need players who can bridge the gap to the next era of the team, however uncertain that epoch may be.

Hill has always been renowned for his seemingly boundless reserves of energy and his play hasn’t dropped off at all despite an increase in minutes.

Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell noted how Hill’s hustle helped out in the purple and gold’s 112-110 overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night:

Once an offensive banger—okay, he still is—who subsisted on a heavy diet of second-chance opportunities to score points, Hill has impressed this season with a strong jump hook and a formidable mid-range jumper/set shot. Hill is shooting 38.1 percent on two-pointers 16 feet or farther from the basket, per Basketball-Reference.com. Hill is yet to add a three-point shot to his game, but he insists that it’s well within his capabilities.

“I can shoot 3s,” he said, via Deveney. “I can definitely make them. I am just not worried about making 3s right now because we have got our 3-point shooters on the team. But I know I can knock them down if I have the chance.”

He can be frustrating to watch on the defense, especially when it comes to guarding the pick-and-roll, but few of the current Lakers can claim to be a positive impact on that end of the floor. Hill’s defensive rating of 113 is tied for the second-best mark on the team and behind only fellow frontcourt player Ed Davis, per Basketball-Reference.com.

The Lakers would be wise to pick up Hill’s option for next season. At 27 years old, he can prove to be a valuable building block should the Lakers somehow craft a competitive roster next season or at the very least be a stopgap option or even possible trade chip with an expiring contract.

Contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com unless otherwise noted.

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Ray Allen Free-Agent Buzz and Analyzing Best Fit Among Warriors, Cavs and More

Ray Allen remains the focus of intense free-agent speculation. The 39-year-old sharpshooter hasn’t tipped his hand, however, seemingly content to let the situation develop while deciding whether to make another run at an NBA title.

Allen, who came up just short of his third championship with the Miami Heat last season, is rare in the fact he’s remaining on the market by choice. Rather than signing during the offseason, he’s waiting to see what type of opportunities arise. He hasn’t taken retirement completely off the table, either.

Ryen Russillo of ESPN reported last week that the shooting guard is informing interested teams to make further contact in January. As of now, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the apparent favorites:

Waiting until the second half of the season has always been the best alternative for Allen. At this stage of his career, it isn’t about the numbers. In turn, it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to put himself through the entire 82-game grind.

Allen—and the teams with a legitimate chance of signing him—are interested in crunch time. Getting back into game shape during the stretch run and being as healthy as possible for the playoffs is the ultimate goal, assuming he decides to come back.

Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post reports there are five teams receiving serious consideration. Like Russillo, he notes there’s no hurry to make the call:

The Cavaliers obviously stand out. Along with the existing relationship between Allen and LeBron James from their time in Miami, Cleveland could use another shooter with Dion Waiters struggling to adapt to his new role and Mike Miller unable to find his shooting stroke before suffering a concussion.

James’ squad also plays in the weaker conference. If the only goal is winning a title, that’s clearly a factor that must be considered.

The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards also hold that advantage. Each of those teams has concerns that could cause Allen to shy away, though.

For the Bulls, it’s the health of Derrick Rose. Their only chance of walking away with the championship comes if he can stay on the court for the entire playoff run. Given his track record over the past couple years, that’s a tough bet to make for the 10-time All-Star.

For the Wizards, it’s a lack of top-end talent. John Wall is a superstar, but Bradley Beal isn’t on that level, and Paul Pierce has faded from it in recent seasons. In an era where “Big Three” groups reign supreme, Washington seems a little short at this point.

Moving to the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs are a logical connection: a definite title contender where a savvy veteran like Allen can slide in with ease and be a good fit for one of the model organizations in sports. Yet, the concern there would be playing time.

The guard is unlikely to play extensive minutes regardless of where he lands. But San Antonio already has Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Marco Belinelli fighting for minutes at the two. Kyle Anderson is also starting to show signs of progress and could enter the conversation as well.

That brings us to the most intriguing team on the list: the Golden State Warriors. Their connection to Allen was confirmed by general manager Bob Myers, as noted by Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group:

The Warriors have two stars in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. While they lack the aforementioned third marquee player, their terrific depth makes up for it. And it’s a group that will become even more potent once David Lee makes his return.

Allen could immediately slide into the rotation ahead of Brandon Rush. Take a few minutes away from each of the other players in the backcourt reserve group, and he could be ticketed for an ideal 18-20 minutes per contest. Depending on his play, it could bump up further come playoff time.

All told, the Cavaliers represent the safe choice for Allen. He knows they’ll be in the championship mix barring an injury to LeBron, and they play in the weaker overall conference. He would also likely step into a pretty-defined role.

Yet, it’s hard not to get fascinated by what he could bring to the Warriors.

They have showcased their talent during a 20-2 start. Adding another pure shooter of Allen’s caliber would make the nightmare opposing defenses already face even tougher to wake up from. And his veteran presence would certainly help a team filled with young stars.

It all makes for an interesting situation to watch, even if a final decision is a couple months away.

 

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Ray Allen drawing free agent interest from Warriors

Ray Allen is in no hurry to sign a contract, but at least one NBA team has already pondered adding the most prolific 3-point shooter of all time.
 
The Golden State Warriors have contacted Allen’s representatives about signing the free agent guard, Warriors general manager Bob Myers confirmed to 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. No contract was offered and Allen gave no indication of his plans, according to Myers.
“Here’s the problem,” Myers said, via CSN Bay Area. “We don’t have enough minutes as it is, so it’s just a question of chemistry.”
Allen has been without a team since the two-year deal he inked with the Miami Heat in 2012 expired last July. He is believed to be waiting for a legitimate championship contender to call, possibly sometime around February, to add him for the stretch run.
The Warriors (19-2) currently boast the best record in the NBA and have won 14 consecutive games, the longest streak in the league this season.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Ima

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Golden State Warriors Should Avoid Collateral Damage of Signing Ray Allen

Between their 14-game winning streak and Stephen Curry‘s MVP-caliber play, the 19-2 Golden State Warriors have quickly inserted themselves into the title conversation just a month and some change into head coach Steve Kerr’s first season at the helm.

So it’s only natural to expect a coveted free agent like Ray Allen to take notice as he mulls a potential return to the NBA at age 39. 

The Warriors certainly haven’t forgotten about him.

General manager Bob Myers admitted on Thursday to 95.7 FM The Game that Golden State had expressed interest to Allen’s camp. Via CSNBayArea.com, he added that, “it’s uncertain as to what Ray wants to do.”

It’s also uncertain just how interested the Warriors are.

Here’s the problem,” Myers said. “We don’t have enough minutes as it is, so it’s just a question of chemistry.”

In addition to the heavy minutes starters Curry and Klay Thompson demand in the backcourt, Kerr also has to find playing time for Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston at those forward and guard spots. Upon power forward David Lee‘s return, Draymond Green may have to spend less time at the 4 and more time at the 3—further complicating the crowded wing rotation.

Though Allen could theoretically usurp the 13.6 minutes per game currently going to Leandro Barbosa, that’s nearly half the playing time he earned with the Miami Heat a season ago. That means he’d likely siphon at least 12 more minutes away from others—potentially more as the rotation shortens during the postseason.

There’s no getting around the temptation to add an iconic shooter who’s made more three-pointers than anyone in league history. Two-time champions with a penchant for clutch heroics are few and far between.

And there’s little doubt Allen would earn his share of playing time, which—in one sense—is precisely the problem.

What happens when guys like Iguodala and Livingston see their roles shrink? Already relegated to reserve gigs in spite of their starting pedigree, the prospect of further marginalization could ruffle feathers and disrupt an already-delicate balance.

Barring a serious injury that would create a need for Allen, it’s hard to see his addition ending well for everyone involved. Virtual players may deal with that kind of thing in video games, but damaged chemistry is a hazard in real life. When guys stop buying in, it shows on the court.

The Warriors can’t risk that, not with things going so unbelievably well at the moment. 

They’re already making 37.6 percent of their three-point attempts, which is tied for the league’s fourth-best mark according to TeamRankings.com. And with a respectable 25.1 long-range attempts per contest, it’s hard to argue this team really needs another marksman.

Even if Allen marginally improved an offense that currently ranks sixth in efficiency (with 107.3 points per 100 possessions according to Hollinger Team Stats), it’s less clear that he’d be of much value to a defense that’s been exceptional so far. Allowing just 94.5 points per 100 possessions, the Warriors lead the league in defensive efficiency, and that has a lot to do with personnel like Iguodala and Livingston—the same guys who stand to lose the most from Allen’s addition.

Per TeamRankings.com, Golden State’s opponents are only making 30.5 percent of their three-point attempts (fourth best league-wide) while scoring just 19.3 points per contest via three-pointers (fifth best league-wide). Maintaining that kind of pressure on the perimeter is a tall order for a guy in his 19th season. That three-point stroke may be immortal, but lateral quickness rarely is.

With their chemistry and defense already in championship form, the Warriors would have to think long and hard about any tinkering, even when it comes to an apparent no-brainer addition like Allen. 

The 10-time All-Star is also giving his future plenty of thought. Earlier this month, ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo tweeted that he’s “Hearing Ray Allen is telling teams ‘talk to me in January’ [and] will make a decision in February.”

In November, ESPN the Magazine‘s Chris Broussard noted the range of suitors who’ve likely made Allen’s decision such a difficult one.

While none of those teams has a desperate need for Allen, all but San Antonio could almost certainly use another shooter off the bench.

Joining former teammate and four-time MVP LeBron James in Cleveland is the safe bet. While the Cavaliers haven’t been as dominant as Golden State in the early going, they remain among two or three teams favored to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.

By the time Allen’s ready to make a decision, the Cavaliers will have likely developed more of a rhythm with one another. They may not be better than the Warriors, but they may well be the more attractive destination—and a better fit.

“Until he signs, that’s going to be a target for everybody,” Cavs general manager David Griffin told reporters in September. “Ray is someone who fits us as a shooter. His championship pedigree fits us at a really high level. With James [Jones], Mike [Miller] and LeBron here, I think he’d feel comfortable with our group.”

It might not be a fairy-tale ending, but it probably makes more sense than trying to make things work on the West Coast.

No one will fault the Warriors for doing their due diligence. In a world where injuries strike without warning, it would be irresponsible not to.

But sometimes the best moves are the ones that aren’t made—especially when your team holds the league’s best record and shows no sign of slowing down.

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Warriors GM: We have reached out to Ray Allen

The idea of adding the greatest three-point shooter in the history of the NBA to a team that already possesses Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson is absolutely ridiculous.
But according to Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, the team has indeed reached out to semi-retired 10-time All-Star Ray Allen, who boasts the most three-points field goals in the history of the Association (via CSN Bay Area).
It is not yet known whether Allen is willing to return to the NBA as a member of the Warriors, but it does appear that he’s in no hurry to make a decision. According to ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo, Allen is telling teams to contact him in January for a potential return in February. 
And while the Cleveland Cavaliers are considered favorites to land Allen for the stretch run, his ultimate goal here has to be contending for a championship. At 19-2 on the season and winners of 14 consecutive, there is little doubt that Golden State is the best team in the NBA.
Now signing with a Western Conference te

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Grizzlies’ Tony Allen Busts out Interesting Dance Move After Mavs Turnover

It’s OK to get a little excited when the other team commits a turnover.

Do more than that, and you’re bound to turn some heads.

During Tuesday night’s 114-105 home win over the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen busted out an interesting dance move after a Dallas turnover.

We know you need a closer look at this masterpiece.

[Vine]

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Cleveland Cavaliers Need Help That Ray Allen Can’t Provide

Six wins, seven losses and countless questions that are simultaneously premature and unavoidable.

By the numbers, the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ first month of new-look exploits has left something to be desired. In times like these, superstars cite the importance of patience, coaches get metaphorical and the rest of us wonder if there’s a way to fix this in short order.

CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger recently refloated one possibility that had emerged this summer.

“Additional help could be on the way, with still-unsigned Ray Allen weighing whether he’ll return to the floor for what would be his 19th season,” Berger wrote. “If he does, the Cavs are the undisputed favorites—and have a gaping hole in their bench unit that is ready-made for Allen to fill.”

Superficially, one can’t help but relish the notion of Allen in a Cavs uniform. It would be a story if nothing else—one more prominent name alongside LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. One more weapon to compensate for sixth man Dion Waiters’ uneven output. Another veteran joining forces with Mike Miller and Shawn Marion.

That’s enough oldie-but-goodie star credentials to film another sequel to The Expendables.

The real problem with signing Allen isn’t that it raises the Cavaliers’ average age. Nor is there any risk he’d actually make the team worse. This would be safe move, and it’s hard to argue with that.

But Allen wouldn’t be the solution. Despite his two championships, 10 All-Star selections and 2,973 three-pointers, he isn’t the answer to all those premature and unavoidable questions.

That answer is likely to be found at the defensive end.

Through their first 13 games, the Cavaliers are yielding 105.1 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com—just the 22nd-best mark in the league. They’re giving up 17.6 field goals per game from within five feet of the basket (ninth-worst league-wide) and allowing opponents to make 64.3 percent of their field-goal attempts from that range (third-worst in the league).

Even if you’re somehow convinced Allen can still turn in first-rate defense, he’s no rim protector.

“We’re not a team that has great shot blocking,” head coach David Blatt conceded to media earlier this month, per Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group. “On the other hand, if you look at our schemes, we can protect the rim. It’s jut not necessarily with shot blocking. But that’s an area we have to do a better job.”

Keeping scorers out of the paint will require better team defense. Disrupting those scorers once they get into the paint may require a savvy acquisition on the trade or free-agency market—an acquisition instead of an addition to Allen.

Making a competent defender out of Love is another story altogether.

Big men Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson have been doing their parts. Love, however, has continued to earn his reputation as one of the league’s most porous stoppers at the rim. Among the 50 players who have defended against at least five field-goal attempts per game so far this season, Love ranks 48th in opponent field-goal percentage—allowing a 61.1 percent rate of success.

By comparison, Dirk Nowitzki has only given up 52.3 percent of those interior shots, and he’s by no means a model of rim protection.

“But here’s the thing—this isn’t new,” Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry recently wrote. “Love was among the least effective volume rim protectors in the league last year, too. Like it or not, he is who we thought he was, and any team leaning on Love to help protect the paint will be exposed.”

Given Love’s transcendent shooting ability and top-shelf rebounding, he’s going to get his minutes.

And pointing the finger may not be very productive—especially with broader defensive deficits also taking their tolls.

“Of course you want to have somebody to protect the rim,” Varejao told reporters this month, per Haynes. ”I believe our problem right now is not because we don’t have a shot blocker, it’s because our defense is terrible. We’re doing a bad job on defense. That’s what is killing us.”

A recent 110-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors put Cleveland’s defensive struggles on full display. James and Co. gave up a career-high 36 points to sixth man Lou Williams. Williams and starting point guard Kyle Lowry combined to attempt 27 free throws—a robust indication of the Cavaliers’ desperation to stop penetration.

Love had five fouls in 34 minutes.

Assuming the Cavaliers can channel all that defensive energy into a more rule-friendly effort, perhaps this team can at least begin addressing its shortcomings internally—especially as it grows more familiar with its new pieces and coach. Otherwise, help may be needed.

Just not of the Allen variety. 

Sure, he might help an offense that already ranks ninth league-wide with 105.2 points per 100 possessions. But chances are that production will steadily grow in time either way. Every game is another step toward the kind of chemistry that helps an offense hum.

Allen is a luxury item, perhaps even a redundancy.  

Officially, there’s still no guarantee Cleveland will land Allen—even if his close friendship with James ostensibly gives the organization some inroads. ESPN’s Chris Broussard recently tweeted that “Cavs, Bulls, Wizards, Spurs among the 7 teams interested in Ray Allen,” adding that “Allen’s in Miami, keeping himself in shape.”

Allen himself has made it clear he’s in no hurry to make a decision.

“I’ve just been home, taking my kids to school,” he told reporters in October. “I’m working out, taking care of my body. I’m in great shape. I’ll just watch how the season progresses, and if I do feel the desire to continue to play, then I’ll decide what situation is viable for me.”

Allen’s former coach, Doc Rivers, (now with the Los Angeles Clippers) suggested the icon shooter may be waiting to see how the season shakes out for his respective suitors, comparing his available opportunities as they take further shape.

“Honestly, I think he’s making the right decision,” Rivers told the Sun Sentinel earlier this month. “…That’s why he’s doing it. I think it’s a good reason.”

Maybe Allen’s next decision will involve the Cavaliers, and maybe it will be a good one. But if Cleveland is serious about starting the shopping season off right, it’ll be on lookout for a defensively minded big man who might be had for the right price—a Larry Sanders or Robin Lopez—to tag team with Varejao.

Barring such an addition, Cleveland’s only other hope is harder to quantify. Will leaders step up? Will the youngsters learn? Will Love exorcise his defensive demons?

The Cavaliers’ championship upside depends more on questions like these than on signing Ray Allen.

 

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.

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