Reports: Tony Allen heading to Memphis

In their quest to keep the core intact, the Boston Celtics appeared on the verge of losing a key bench player Sunday.

According to multiple reports, guard Tony Allen will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported the deal.

Just days after rumors swirled that he would re-sign in Boston, Allen has agreed to a three-year offer from the Grizzlies worth $9.7 million, according to NBA.com.

"All I am at liberty to say is that we have come to terms with Tony Allen, and expect to sign a contract soon,'' Memphis general manager Chris Wallace told the Boston Globe.

Allen spent his first six NBA seasons with Boston. While plagued with injuries, he emerged in recent seasons as a lockdown defender off the bench, particularly this past season. Allen's playoff defense against LeBron James and Kobe Bryant helped Boston come within six minutes of a world title.

The Celtics now have little depth on the wing, and would presumably be in the market for a backup shooting guard or small forward, but don't have cap space to offer much more than the veteran minimum. The team could trade Rasheed Wallace's contract for an established veteran if Wallace is serious about retiring, and a trade partner needed cap relief.

The Celtics boasted Bird Rights to Allen, allowing them to go over the cap to sign him, but apparently weren't interested in committing to that length of a deal, or were scared off by luxury-tax ramifications of an increased salary.

Allen made $2.5 million last season.

Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.