But why should Ray Allen want the Heat?
The free agent shooting guard planned to visit both Miami and the Clippers this week, but after the Clippers signed Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups, they canceled their visit. That left Allen to decide between, most likely, the Heat and the Celtics.
According to the Associated Press, Allen is taking "a serious look" at becoming a member of the Heat, who defeated the Celtics in seven games in this year's Eastern Conference Finals before moving on to win the NBA title.
A source told the AP that Allen would stay in Miami until Friday so the Heat could make their pitch. The Heat can only offer him their mini mid-level exception, worth about $3 million.
With the Clippers out of the mix, Allen's decision looks infinitely simpler.
Since neither the Heat nor the Celtics will offer him a starting job, it's the choice between a lucrative contract—Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reportedly offered him two years and $12 million—and stability, or the chance to play with the reigning NBA champions.
It's easy to see why Allen might entertain the idea of becoming a member of the Heat. Playing with LeBron James isn't an opportunity many NBA stars would turn down. And though Allen would play behind Dwyane Wade, his role on the team would be crucial as a lights-out three-point shooter who can extend defenses so LeBron and Chris Bosh can get to the rim.
But signing with the Heat doesn't guarantee a ring. What happens if LeBron gets hurt? What happens if Bosh gets hurt again? The Heat proved during the 2012 postseason that for this machine to work effectively, it needs all three of its critical components—LeBron, Wade and Bosh—to be functioning at maximum efficiency.
So what happens if the Heat don't win? Allen is stuck in a new city in the twilight of his career, without a starting job, with less money than he would've earned if he stayed in Boston, and he has to drag his family away from the city he's called home for the last five years.
Nothing is guaranteed in Boston, either, but there's something to be said for Ainge's commitment to maintaining the core of this team for one more run at a title. Once Kevin Garnett and the Celtics agreed to a three-year deal (via sports.yahoo.com), it was clear that Ainge wasn't quite ready to disassemble this team, and he's already made necessary improvements by reeling in Jason Terry (via telegram.com) and re-signing Brandon Bass.
Ainge is clearly serious about making another run, and given his offer to Allen—and the fact that he offered it the second free agency began—he's serious about Allen being a part of this team, even if it means he's playing behind Avery Bradley.
If he stays in Boston, Allen gets a shot at winning a second title with the Celtics—a team he's been a crucial part of since 2007—and he gets to stay comfortable. He gets to stick around and play for a coach with whom he has a great relationship, and he doesn't have to adjust to a new core of superstars.
The fact that the Celtics are paying him more—and are offering him a second year—is no small feat, either. That means that this time next year, Allen won't have to be doing the same dance he's doing right now.
Both of Allen's choices are risky. If he goes with Miami, he'll be taking less money and uprooting his entire life solely for the chance of winning a ring. If he stays in Boston, he might not win a ring, either, but he'll be a core member of a team he's loved being a part of for five years, and he'll be getting paid a lot more money to do it.
One of these moves is far less risky than the other.