It almost seemed a foregone conclusion that Ray Allen was going to take his talents to South Beach, effectively ending hope for anybody in the East – not named Derrick Rose – for the next few years.
The things Ray would be able to bring to the Miami offense would come not only in production and leadership, but in the form of the players he would sway to come to the Heat along with him. Allen is one of the most respected players in the league and his ability and work ethic are something that many free agents would see as a welcome addition to a team that had glaring deficiencies in not only timely, outside shooting, but in the form of veteran leadership. Sorry, Juwan Howard. I never bought it.
Mike Miller may have shot great when it mattered, but the guy can barely move. And James Jones, the other Miami marksman, has been contemplating retirement because of the severity of the cramps he gets. You really can’t make this stuff up.
Allen would be able to give the Heat basically the best shooter of all time. LeBron would be able to drive, have the defense collapse, and not have to kick to a guy who looks like he’s detoxing from heroin. Instead, he’d be dishing to the all-time three-point champion.
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But Ray may not be spreading the Miami offense anytime soon. The Celtics are ready to offer him much more than the mini mid-level exception that Miami can give. And it makes sense. The Celtics are in the market for an outside scorer, and Allen is one of the best in the business. Never mind the fact that he’s an established part of the team, community and fan base – a name that people know, that they trust and more importantly, that Doc and the Celtics trust.
There is the Rondo friction that needs to be worked on and Ray is going to need to get on board with the fact that Avery Bradley is the starting shooting guard, but Allen has said that a championship is his No. 1 priority.
This is just the natural evolution in the career of a shooter. As you older, you sacrifice the defense and save your legs at the start of games – in many cases that means coming off the bench. Then you’re fresh at the end of games, with enough legs left to still hit the dagger.
That is the player Ray Allen has to realize he is now. If he can do that, then the Celtics will once again be a top contender as long as they get a few more pieces to the proverbial puzzle.
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And if for some reason he decides to sign with Memphis then all hope is not lost. As weak as this class may be, the position of off the bench scorer is surprisingly well represented with guys like Jamal Crawford, OJ Mayo, Nick Young and Landry Fields all available.
Still, make no mistake about it, the Celtics want Ray Allen back. Doc is so confident about it that he called it a “stretch” that Ray would play anywhere else this year. Let’s hope they shore up that deal soon so they can focus on filling some other holes.