Ray Allen: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Miami and Boston
In the Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games. Now, just about a month later, the two teams are at odds yet again. This time, it is not a finals berth on the line, but the veteran sharp-shooter Ray Allen.
Throughout the brief free agency period, many teams have shown interest in Ray Allen, but now his list is shortened to just the two Eastern Conference rivals. Both teams can offer him different perks, which makes the decision that much harder for Allen.
He needs to make a decision soon, though, and in order to do so, he must weigh these pros and cons of both teams.
Boston Pro: Stability
Ever since the trade that sent Allen to Boston in 2007, he has been a mainstay for the Celtics. It almost seems like he has been a Celtic for much longer than five years. He won a championship with his fellow members of the Big Four and has been through countless other battles with them.
The rest of the Big Four are returning, and now they are just waiting on Allen. Sure, the idea of playing with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is alluring. But Allen has played with and been close to Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for five years now, and that plays into Boston's favor.
Also, Allen and his family live in Wellesley, and his biggest fan, mom Flo Allen, lives in the Boston area and is easily the TD Garden's Spike Lee. All of these factors would make it easier for Allen to just stay in Boston.
Miami Pro: Good Chance at Repeating as Champions
The Celtics certainly have a great chance of contending for a title next season, but the Heat are returning the majority of their championship roster, giving them a better shot at the title next year. With the services of Ray Allen, the chances of the Heat winning it all again would go through the roof.
And Allen's no fool. He's already cemented his legacy as one of the best shooters to ever play the game and has an excellent Hall of Fame resume. At this point, he would love a ring or two more, and for that reason Miami could lure him in.
Boston Con: Limited Minutes/Role
The Celtics have already compensated for the loss of Ray Allen—even though he hasn't left yet—by signing sixth-man shooting guard Jason Terry. Now, there are two schools of thought on how this affects the Celtics' chances of re-signing Allen.
The first paints the signing as a pro for the Celtics, stating that with Jason Terry, the Celtics are legitimate title contenders, which will reel Allen back in.
The other theory, which is at the very least equally plausible, is that with the signing of Jason Terry, Allen sees a diminishing role in Boston, one not worth his time. Let's remember that Allen lost his starting job to Avery Bradley, and although he was professional about it, there is no doubt that he was upset.
Now, for him, a future Hall of Famer, to potentially drop down to third on the depth chart, that could definitely steer him away from Boston.
Miami Con: Limited Amount of Money
The Miami Heat have so much money tied up in their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that they can only offer Allen a contract of three years and $9.5 million. For Ray, that is taking a huge pay cut—perhaps even too much of a pay cut.
That little amount of money could be construed as a bit of insult for Allen, even if it is all the Heat have. Why would a future Hall of Famer want to play for less money than Joel Anthony, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and significantly less than Mike Miller?
Boston Pro: A Lot More Money
The Celtics are only willing to give Ray two years, but also a lot more money than the Heat. In fact, the Celtics will pay nearly double what the Heat will at two years for $12 million. Now this amount of money is more reasonable for the sharp shooter and, in fact, maybe even too much.
Also, the Celtics may place a no-trade clause in his contract. The combination of the higher paycheck and increased stability with the no-trade clause could sway Allen towards Boston.
Being on a team in which he is only out-earned by his fellow future Hall of Famers and one of the best point guards in the league seems much more reasonable for Allen.
Miami Pro: The Chance to Play with LeBron and Wade
Ray Allen came to Boston for the chance to play with first Paul Pierce and, later, Kevin Garnett. Now, he has the chance to play with two other great players of their generation, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James of the Heat.
As I mentioned before, the Heat have a great chance of repeating, especially with Wade and LeBron returning. But, besides that, just the chance to play with this great duo certainly makes Miami more attractive for Ray.
Especially considering the fact that those two can create more open shots for Ray than any other duo in the league with their ability to collapse defenses and pass out.
Prediction: He Stays in Boston
This season, the Eastern Conference finals came down to 12 minutes of basketball with the better team during the final quarter of Game 7 advancing. That is how close that series was.
Next season, there could definitely be a rematch between the two teams, and given how closely matched the teams really are, the winner could be decided by who gets Ray Allen.
The Celtics don't necessarily need Allen to beat the Heat, as they are already deep and talented at the shooting guard position with Avery Bradley and Jason Terry. However, they need the Heat to be without Ray Allen if they want a chance to beat them. And the only chance the Heat don't get Ray Allen is if he returns to Boston.
But given the pros and cons, it seems that he will return to the Celtics. Sure, he will get fewer minutes for the Celtics, but that may be a good thing for the beaten-up, soon-to-be 37-year-old.
Plus, the rest of the band is getting back together for one more run, and the price is right for Allen to do the same. Expect to see him back in Celtic green next season, and expect him to help the Celtics give the Heat a run for their money in the Eastern Conference yet again.