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Tony Allen: ‘I ain’t thinking about free agency. I’m thinking about a championship.’

Tony Allen, Luke Ridnour

Memphis Grizzlies’ Tony Allen, left, drives around Minnesota Timberwolves’ Luke Ridnour in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 30, 2013 in Minneapolis. The Grizzlies won 99-86. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Tony Allen, who’s 31 years old and making $3.3 million this year, will become a free agent this summer. In all likelihood, this will be his last chance to secure a relatively big contract, though he says he’s not thinking that way. Via Ronald Tillery of Memphis Commercial Appeal:

“I’m bleeding blue right now, so I haven’t thought past the Grizzlies,” Allen said when asked about the Portland Trail Blazers as a possible destination after a Grizzlies win Wednesday night in the Rose Garden. “I ain’t thinking about free agency. I’m thinking about a championship.”

Defense is so difficult to quantify, it’s often seen as the space between offense (which is much easier to assess) and winning. For an elite perimeter defender like Allen, his value could easily be inflated by the perception he has positive intangibles. A deep Grizzlies playoff run would cement his status as “a winner,” and teams favor winners in free agency.

So, Allen should absolutely think about a championship. It will pay off.