Despite what we've heard over the past few months, the Celtics are going hard after Ray Allen. The Miami Heat are considered the early favorite in the Allen sweepstakes, but the Celtics are reportedly willing to offer him twice as much money. Now that money isn't an issue, it's clear that Allen should come back to Boston.
Allen will turn 37 this month, and while he's perfectly capable of adjusting to a new system, it's a move he doesn't have to make. He already has a championship ring; he doesn't need to ride LeBron's coattails to another one.
The Celtics were up by 15 in Game 7 against the champs. They're going to be in the mix again next year, and they are probably going to be even better.
Kevin Garnett will be back. Avery Bradley is going to recover from his shoulder injury, and even after bringing Allen back the Celtics will have enough cap space to bring in at least one more impact player (and probably two).
Let's say they bring back Jeff Green and convince Marcus Camby to come to Boston. A Boston team with Rajon Rondo, Bradley, Paul Pierce, Garnett and Camby starting and Allen, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo off of the bench can absolutely compete with Miami. They'll be even deeper if they can bring back guys like Greg Stiemsma, Keyon Dooling, Chris Wilcox and Mickael Pietrus.
Allen has expressed concern over coming off of the bench, but if he wants to contend, that's probably what he'll have to do. That is going to be a condition on him signing with either Miami or Boston, but if he's willing to take a risk with Memphis, New York or the Clippers, he can get his extra minutes. In other words, the Heat and Celtics face the same restrictions in that regard.
The Celtics would, however, offer a bigger role. It seems likely that Allen would be a part of either team's crunch-time five, but Allen has usually been Boston's second option late in games behind Pierce. In Miami, there aren't many shots to go with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Allen's role with Boston, both early in games and late, would be more clearly defined than in Miami. The Heat have several shooters, so adding another seems almost redundant. If Mike Miller, James Jones, Shane Battier or Mario Chalmers are particularly hot on a given night, it might hurt Allen's minutes.
That wouldn't happen in Boston. He's part of their original big three, would play at least 30 minutes per game when healthy and would be a primary scoring option.
Finally, Boston and Miami hate each other. You can see the genuine dislike each team has for the other whenever they play. If Allen cares about his legacy as a Celtic, he wouldn't ditch them while still in contention with the Heat.
Miami offers Allen a better chance to win than Boston, but the Celtics are by no means out of the hunt. In every other way, the Celtics offer a better situation. That's why Ray Allen should re-sign with the Celtics rather than jump ship for Miami.