Ray Allen: Why the Boston Celtics Would Be Foolish to Re-Sign Him
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In five seasons they've made the playoffs every year. The trio has gone to the Finals twice and won once. The loss was an epic seven-game struggle against the arch-rival Los Angeles Lakers.
When the current season concludes two-thirds of the trio will once again enter free agency.
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, ages 35 and 36 respectively, will both be on the market this summer. For reasons ranging from the sentimental to the serious, there will be plenty of people who will feel that both players should be brought back to Boston to continue a quest for another ring.
Those feelings are only half right though.
The temptation to bring back Kevin Garnett is not irrational. His size and defensive intensity make him nearly irreplaceable even at his advanced age.
Ray Allen is a different story though.
Ray Allen has been one of the most likable players to ever don a Celtic uniform. That aspect of Allen hasn't changed one bit. His viability as a starting NBA player has. Allen has shown more signs of wear-and-tear than any other member of the big three.
Allen started in less than two-thirds of the regular season games in the lockout shortened 2011-2012 season. He averaged 14.2 points per game. The last time he averaged that few points per game, Michael Jordan won an NBA Championship over the Utah Jazz. That's right, it was the 1996-97 season.
Jordan and the Bulls over the Malone-Stockton led Utah Jazz. That was the year of the famous "flu game." Allen Iverson was the NBA Rookie of The Year. John Starks won the sixth man award. Put simply, it was a while ago.
Players don't age uniformly. One 36 year old player is not always going to play and perform at the same level as another 36 year old. Allen's best days are behind him, but in addition, his inability to remain healthy means even a low-cost contract represents some risk for the Celtics.
Regardless of whether Allen is low cost or high cost one thing having him under contract does is take up a roster spot. If you're already under the assumption that Paul Pierce is coming back and that the Celtics will re-sign Kevin Garnett, then depth will be pivotal to the success or failure of the 2012-2013 Celtics.
Having Ray Allen on the team, even if his role was limited, would be great on some specific nights when he was healthy and nailing three pointers. It won't do anyone any good on the nights when he's on the bench in a suit. Those nights seem to be on the increase and at his age, there aren't a ton of reasons to think those nights are going to decrease dramatically.
With plenty of salary cap space, and Avery Bradley's emergence in Allen's absence this season, the question of " is there a better option?" has already been answered. There is, and while Allen's three point accuracy is likely irreplaceable, his all around contributions are no longer those of an all-star.
The era of the "Big Three," like every other era, was always destined to come to a conclusion. That conclusion should be this summer when Ray Allen is not re-signed to a new contract by the Celtics.
Celtics fans won't ever forget the performances of Allen over the years. He's destined for the Basketball Hall of Fame, but he shouldn't be brought back next year.
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