Tony Allen headed to Memphis

It seems the Celtics’ slow reaction to dealing with Tony Allen may have cost them their best perimeter defender. Allen has agreed to terms with the Memphis Grizzlies on a multiyear contract, meaning the Celtics’ bench in 2010-11 will undergo more changes.

“All I am at liberty to say is that we have come to terms with Tony Allen,” Memphis general manager Chris Wallace said, “And expect to sign a contract soon.”

Negotiations with the Celtics and Allen’s agent, Michael Higgins, were tepid at best as president Danny Ainge appeared to have pushed the Allen talks aside to bring back Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and sign Jermaine O’Neal.

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Allen’s exit from Boston appeared cinched when O’Neal signed for the full midlevel contract — $5.75 million — while the Celtics seemed reluctant to give Allen the years or money he desired.

What’s next for the Celtics? They are not interested in Orlando free agent Matt Barnes, who likely won’t return to Orlando. They have reached out to Toronto free agent Antoine Wright and could have interest in Minnesota’s Damien Wilkins.

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