In a move to beef up their defense and toughness, the New Orleans Pelicans are set to sign defensive specialist Tony Allen to a one-year deal. Financial details weren’t available, but Allen is expected to accept a veteran’s minimum salary. According to Scott Kushner of The Advocate, Allen may sign a one-year deal worth at least $2.3 million, the minimum salary for any NBA player with more than ten years of service.

A 25th overall pick by Boston in 2004, Allen played six seasons for the Celtics and helped them win a championship in 2008. He then suited up for the Memphis Grizzlies for seven seasons where was a part of the “Grit and Grind” squad, known for their defense and hustle.

Allen is one of the league’s best defensive players.

Allen to provide toughness, leadership

Allen will provide the Pelicans the needed toughness and leadership alongside Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday. With the Pelicans, Allen will be reunited with former Celtics teammate Rajon Rondo, who also signed a one-year deal with New Orleans.

The Pelicans signed Allen to fill the void left by Solomon Hill, who recently underwent surgery on a torn left hamstring and is expected to miss six to eight months. Last season with the Pelicans, Solomon took the challenge of guarding the opponent’s best perimeter scorer, which will be the veteran's role now. In 71 games with the Grizzlies last season, Allen averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per outing.

Allen, an outstanding defensive player

Allen was selected to the All-Defensive First Team in 2012, 2013 and 2015. He also made it to the All-Defensive Second Team three times, in 2011, 2016 and 2017. In his career, the 6-foot-4 Allen has never been known to be a scorer but his defensive presence requires him to guard the opponent’s best player.

According to, opponent shot 0.7 percent worse than their normal average against Allen. In his career, he averaged 8.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 798 games. Allen’s presence will help the Pelicans end their nine-year postseason drought. Allen has played in 112 playoff games, averaging 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds with the Celtics and Grizzlies.

Before he became a free agent, Allen was pursued by the Los Angeles Clippers via a sign-and-trade deal with the Grizzlies to replace sharpshooter J.J. Redick, who joined the Philadelphia 76ers on a one-year deal worth $23 million. However, no deal was made even though Allen played for Clippers coach Doc Rivers during his stint with the Celtics.