The Boston Celtics came very, very close to shipping Ray Allen out prior to this year’s NBA trade deadline. Where did they almost send the all-time leader in regular season threes? Los Angeles, of course.
But it’s not what you think. They weren’t going to move him to the Lakers – they were in talks with the Clippers. You see, Allen is currently in the final year of his deal with Boston and, seeing as everyone involved knows that he won’t be back next season. Danny Ainge and Co. were hoping to squeeze out a late swap with a team in desperate need of a sharpshooter. Ultimately, nothing materialized. The Clippers came closest, though. Eventually they added Nick Young, but he was their fallback option. Originally, they wanted Allen.
And for good reason. While Jesus Shuttlesworth is admittedly old and nowhere near as good as he was in his heyday, he’s still a lights out shooter. Every squad in the L knows that you leave this man open at your own peril. He’s been hampered a bit by injuries as of late but, presuming he has a full offseason to heal, there is no reason to believe that he wouldn’t come back strong in 2012-13. Plus, it’s not as if Allen’s game is all that reliant on athleticism – age doesn’t hinder your ability to spot-up shoot.
All of which brings us to the obvious question: could Allen maybe, possibly, perhaps end up with the Lakers come next year? Lakers Nation recently delved into that topic:
One option that might intrigue the Lakers’ front office is veteran guard Ray Allen of the arch rival Boston Celtics.
As of July 1, Allen will become a free agent and able to sign with another team. The consensus has been that the Celtics won’t re-sign the NBA’s all-time leader in three-point field goals. With that being said, Allen will almost certainly get some interest around the league with the Lakers potentially looking into signing the veteran who turns 37 years-old on July 20.
The addition of Allen could help the Lakers in many ways next season. Obviously, Allen isn’t getting any younger being three years shy of 40, but he can still play at a high level off the bench and stretch the defense with his outside shooting.
The natural follow-up is: can the Lakers afford him? That’s where things get tougher. If we had posed the same question last year, the answer would have been a clear and undeniable no. For all of the reasons noted above, Allen is viewed as a very capable contributor by most high-level NBA execs. However, currently, he’s coming off his worst stretch in recent memory, and a lot of GMs may be hesitant to pull the trigger on a guy who has been as bogged down by injuries as he has been lately.
With their mini mid-level exception, the Lakers could offer nearly $10 million over three years. Whether Allen would find that sort of offer legitimate or not is hard to say at this point. And, really, the prospect of having to come off the bench when there are plenty of teams out there that he could link up with and still start for may be as much of a deterrent as anything else.
Still, this is an interesting move to think about. Plus, as noted, it’s far more realistic money-wise now than it was this time a year ago.