Lakers free agency discussion: Tony Allen

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers need to improve their defense this Summer, and a longtime premier defender will hit unrestricted free agency. Can the Lakers afford him, is his one dimensional game worth it, and can the Lakers afford using their taxpayer mid-level exception on him?

(Welcome to the 2013 Lakers Summer free agency guide. Be sure to check out our full archive of player capsules, news, editorials, and more on the Lakers free agency period over here.)

The Los Angeles Lakers have plenty of needs entering free agency but very little to lure players to the purple and gold with. Where they were most deficient, however, was perimeter defense. It takes both defensive philosophy from the coaching staff and individual players to execute said philosophy. The Lakers had neither going for them.

Previous Capsule: Earl Clark

Opponents broke through the perimeter defense at will. All the healthy Dwight Howard in the world couldn't save the hot mess that was the Lakers' wing defense. Can L.A. fit in a one-dimensional player who specializes in defense? If so, unrestricted free agent Tony Allen should be a prime target this Summer.

Why the Lakers should look at Allen

  • A perimeter defender who has a history of being a part of elite defensive teams
  • Added depth to the wings
  • Can defend point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards

Other considerations

Allen would immediately become the Lakers' best perimeter defensive player, but would also be another offensive player that cannot create his own shot. While the Lakers' defense needs an overall retooling, Allen's presence on offense would only hurt the Lakers. It's not just that he cannot create his own shot, but he also shrinks the Lakers' floor spacing with his career 26 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He will also be turning 32 next season.

The Lakers will have limited options, however, and Allen is a hustle player who gives the Lakers a defensive piece to work into the rotation.

Allen's 2012-2013 season

8.9 ppg, .445 FG%, .125 3P%, 4.6 rpg, 1.5 stl

Last Contract Value

$3,300,000

Free agency prediction

Allen will be an unrestricted free agent this Summer and will likely draw a high amount of interest around the league. His contract should be inexpensive for a team to add to their payroll and he has a track record of being a great defender on great defensive teams. Still, the Lakers will be extremely limited in what they can offer and could be forced to use their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Allen ($3.18 million).

Can the Lakers afford using one of their few free agency tools on Allen while trying to build the remainder of their free agency class through veteran minimum contracts? That's a steep cost for a one dimensional player, but it's an area the Lakers desperately need to address. The market for Allen will end up with a larger contract on the table for the defensive cog, but it certainly wouldn't hurt the Lakers to inquire when free agency officially begins.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN

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