It just so happened this idea occurred as the Knicks were in the midst of losing to the Celtics on Christmas Day, having allowed Boston to shoot 14-for-36 from three point range and score 119 points.
Let's face it: the Celtics as currently constituted are better than the Knicks and this is the case for several reasons.
First, the Knicks have difficulty handling Isaiah Thomas' penetration. When the Celtics spread the floor and allow Thomas to attack the paint, the Knicks were helpless. Containing quick, ball-dominant guards has been their biggest weakness as a team all season. When they do help, the ball gets kicked to the perimeter, where shooters get wide open looks.
Another weakness the Knicks have against the Celtics is timely rebounding. Much of that can be attributed to bad bounces, but the Knicks allowed the Celtics three extra scoring chances according to NBA Stats. The Celtics were able to capitalize on those extra chances coming in the form of kick-out three-pointers leading to a total of nine points that could have been avoided with better defense.
That brings us to Allen, who would immediately make the Knicks -- or any team he eventually goes to -- better. Yes, he's going to be 35 years old in January and he'll be a free agent following the year, but Allen is the type of player who could put the Knicks over the top in the division and solidify a Top 4 seed in the conference.
When Jackson made the Derrick Rose trade, he told the press that he spoke to Carmelo Anthony, who told him the rebuild was moving a little too slowly. They both understood the team needed an upgrade at the point guard position and they went out and acquired the former NBA MVP. Using this logic the Knicks are in playoffs-now mode, so you'd expect them to see who is available and where they are as the deadline approaches.
Allen will be sought after if he is indeed available. He'd be a good fit for Western Conference teams in need of perimeter defense -- like the Rockets -- and he may be worth the risk for the Spurs if they want to truly try to challenge the Warriors. Of course, the Celtics and Cavaliers may be interested as well, the latter especially, having just lost J.R. Smith for The timing of the Grizzlies "report" is interesting based off of potential teams in need.
For the Knicks, Allen would be an immediate upgrade over Lance Thomas, who has struggled in a big way since signing his four-year, $27 million free agent contract this summer. Thomas was particularly bad on the national stage and has struggled this season in limited minutes while dealing with foot issues.
He's shooting just 37 percent from the field and his -13.7 net rating is an accurate depiction of how poorly he's played. Allen, on the other hand, is shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and has a net rating of -2.6. Allen hasn't been the knock-down, three point shooter this year (25 percent), but his 14.7 efficiency rating shows he's very effective and efficient in the 27.5 minutes he averages per game.
Plus, he'd pair well in an offense/defense role with Mindaugas Kuzminskas when the Knicks want to move Anthony to the power forward spot. Currently, Kuzminskas and Thomas combine for 26 minutes per game.
So what will it take to land Allen? I'd point to less of a haul than what the Warriors gave up for Andre Iguodala --in the summer of 2013. The Warriors traded Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Jazz along with four draft picks, including a first and second round pick in this year's draft. To me, a deal of Thomas or Kyle O'Quinn, a future first round pick and perhaps a future second round pick would be a fair rental. You'd also have to expect the Knicks would want to sign Allen for two-to-three more years as well.
I understand the fan reaction of "no deal" when future first round picks get mentioned, as they've seen those trades not work out in the past. But when trying to take the next step, you have to get aggressive -- especially when players like Allen are available. One pick does not dismantle a franchise, and the Knicks are good enough this year to compete past the first round of the playoffs.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Allen in Memphis, who we now know is available. Based on this past offseason, I'd expect the Knicks to have interest to see if they can immediately improve the team with one of the game's top defensive players -- something they can desperately use to upgrade a clear position of need.