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Tony Allen: 'I felt wanted'

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  November 13, 2010 12:46 PM

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Even though teammates said that he was impossible to reach during free agency, Allen said he still texts former teammates like Paul Pierce, one of his closer friends in the Celtics locker room.

He said the decision was a difficult one, but now that he's in Memphis, he's adjusting to being on a team full of budding stars like O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay (who signed a max contract this summer) rather than established ones like Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

"Taking everything in stride, trying to learn the offense, trying to figure out what they need from me defensively, and learning the sets, but I’m enjoying my new situation," Allen said. "It’s my first [time being] part of going to a new team. It’s my first time getting to be around it. But I’m enjoying it. It’s pretty different from a veteran ball club to a young ball club, but I’m enjoying it."

As a veteran in the locker room and as the only player with a ring, Allen said he's trying to bring the discipline he learned in Boston over to Memphis.

"I pretty much try to carry it over over here, trying to get guys to be more focused before game, more serious in practice – not saying that they haven’t – but make that a point of emphasis as approaching the next game," Allen said.

The Grizzlies are off to a 4-5 start, losing four of their last five after struggling on a four game road trip that where they lost to the Lakers, Warriors and Suns (double OT) before beating the Kings. Allen is averaging 12.7 minutes and 5.1 points, but last week, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins decided not to play Allen on two occasions. There's a theory that Allen's struggles have come because he's focused more on creating shots for himself.

"I'm definitely trying to rediscover [my role] over here," Allen said. "Trying to find my niche, trying to find where I can get my groove in at defensively and offensively."

Allen's role was clearly defined in Boston, but when he was asked if he has second thoughts about leaving, he said, "I don’t live with regrets. I just deal with the choices that I make."

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