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Ray Allen: Breaking Down Miami Heat and LA Clippers' Chances of Landing Veteran

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 03:  Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics reacts after he made a basket against Shane Battier #31 of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 3, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2012

For a guy on the verge of turning 37-years-old Ray Allen is in hot demand.

The Boston Celtics are desperate to retain their sharpshooter, and the Memphis Grizzlies have already offered him their full $5 million mid-level exception.

The team with the most money to shell Allen's way may be the Phoenix Suns, who have ample cap room and the need for a starting shooting guard.

But for all the money these clubs can offer, the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers may be in the best position to sign him.

When you're Ray Allen's age, there are things that matter more than a paycheck—namely a paycheck and an opportunity to win along with it.

ESPN's Jared Zwerling reported last month that the Heat and Clippers had an edge according to those in the know:

But a source very familiar with Allen's situation told ESPNNewYork.com that the Heat, as well as potentially the Clippers, will be more attractive to the five-time All-Star in the offseason because they're top teams that can offer more than the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million.

The Clippers can offer a full mid-level exception, and they reportedly see Allen as their starting shooting guard.

While the Heat are limited to the tax payer's mini-mid-level exception of $3 million, Miami could similarly offer Allen a prominent role by sliding LeBron James to power forward as it did throughout much of the postseason.

In either event, Allen would be wanted—a feeling he may have begun to miss in Boston when Avery Bradley was inserted into the starting lineup late in the season.

If winning alone is Allen's priority, the Heat clearly have the edge. 

The guy may no longer be much of a defender, but no one would notice with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James hovering nearby.

It's hard not to like what the Clippers have to offer, though.

They're an up-and-coming club who might have put up a better fight in the Western Conference Semifinals if it weren't for some injuries that held them back against the San Antonio Spurs.

More importantly, Los Angeles can offer him Chris Paul—perhaps the only point guard in the game better adept at distributing the basketball than Boston's Rajon Rondo. LeBron James may be one heck of a playmaker, but he doesn't run an offense like Paul.

Randy Foye and Nick Young demonstrated how effective the Clippers' offense could be when they were actually hitting their treys. Imagine what a well-oiled machine it would become with Allen locking and loading.

At the end of the day, both clubs would be good fits for Allen.

He'd have the opportunity to remain relevant along with a shot at another ring. If he cares more about being the star, Los Angeles is the way to go.

If he's more interested in a title, we all know what that means.

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