With Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups going to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics bringing in Brandon Bass and Jason Terry, it appears that Ray Allen heading to Miami is a real possibility. Allen is meeting with the Heat this Friday, and though they can only offer him around $3 million a year, the chance to play for the defending NBA champions is certainly appealing for the 37-year-old off-guard.
However, if Miami does bring in the league's all-time leader in made three-pointers, it could very well spell the end of several players' tenures with the Heat organization. Allen certainly deserves quality minutes, even off the bench, and he could easily out-produce a couple of members of last year's title-winning roster.
Rumors have swirled that Miller may be retiring this offseason, but while those could definitely turn out to be false, he may have played his last game in a Heat uniform if Ray Allen does come to town.
Over the past two seasons, Miller has dealt with a litany of injuries, including cumbersome problems with his back and both thumbs. He has struggled to stay on the court and has not always looked comfortable out on the floor, Game 5 of the Finals notwithstanding.
Last season, Miller averaged 6.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting a blistering 45.3 percent from three-point range. Still, those numbers are a far cry from what he was putting up routinely in Orlando or Memphis. He appeared in just 39 games last season, primarily backing up LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The real problem with Miller is his hefty contract. He is owed $5.8 million next season and $12.8 million over the following two years. This is a lot to pay for an older veteran, especially one who has struggled with injuries. When one considers Miami's murky salary cap situation, the deal looks even worse.
Ray Allen, who shot 45.3 percent from three himself, would immediately fill Miller's role as primary backup to Dwyane Wade. He is a lethal shooter and a more versatile offensive player.
He has a better handle than Miller and can put the ball on the deck, as well as make passes and find open teammates. He runs better off picks and, despite struggles with bone spurs in his ankles, has largely been healthy over the past few seasons.
Allen is not as big as the 6'8" Miller, but he could play small forward in a small-ball lineup if necessary and is a more talented perimeter defender.
Mike Miller may already have one foot out the door of American Airlines Arena, and should Ray Allen join the Heat, that will be even more likely.
Oh look, another aging, 6'8" swing man who came off Miami's bench, jacks up threes and is contemplating retirement!
James Jones is on a much less expensive deal than Miller; he is slated to earn just $1.5 million per year over the next two seasons but would be completely expendable if the team brought in Ray Allen.
Jones averaged just 3.6 points and a rebound per game, seeing floor time very sporadically. He did shoot 40.3 percent from deep, but he struggled to create his own shot. Jones was really only effective spotting up and only attempted 36 shots from inside the arc all year.
Allen averaged 14.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists last year, proving to be a much more well-rounded player than someone like James Jones.
Not only can he shoot the three, but he can create his own shot and attack the basket when necessary.
Like Miller, Jones could be gone for ulterior reasons, but if he does decide to stay in pro basketball, expect Miami to deal him if Ray Allen joins the club.
Admittedly, Battier is the least likely player to be dealt if Allen comes to South Beach, but the Heat could look to sell high on Shane after his stellar Finals performance.
Battier averaged just 4.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game last season. On offense, his biggest contribution was the corner three; he shot 33.9 percent from beyond the arc.
He upped his level of play dramatically in the postseason, averaging seven points and 3.2 boards while hitting 38.2 percent of his three-point attempts.
Battier will earn $3.1 million next season and $3.3 the year after, roughly the same amount that the team is looking to offer Allen.
Obviously he is a much better defensive player, but Allen is no slouch and can score and facilitate much more consistently. Bringing in Ray Allen would undoubtedly cut into Battier's minutes on the court, and with his stock as high as its been in a while, the team could look to move him to another contender to bring in a young big man.
I don't anticipate Miami dealing Shane Battier even if Ray Allen does sign with the team, but there are reasons that the team could part ways with the 33-year-old defensive-minded forward.
The only constants on the Heat's roster are James, Wade and Chris Bosh, so with Ray Allen potentially joining, there could be some personnel shakeups in the near future.
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