NBA Free Agency 2012: How Ray Allen to the Heat Affects Boston Celtics

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NBA Free Agency 2012: How Ray Allen to the Heat Affects Boston Celtics
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According to the Miami Herald, former Boston Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen has decided to sign with the Miami Heat, who beat out other potential suitors, including the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics.

The Herald reports that the Heat offered Allen the "mini" mid-level exception, for teams over the salary cap, which will pay him $3 million annually (about half of the Celtics offer of $12 million over two years).

Celtics' general manager Danny Ainge anticipated the move and signed guard Jason Terry to the full mid-level exception (around $5 million annually).

Coach Doc Rivers placed Avery Bradley in the starting lineup towards the end of the regular season, and Allen came off the bench. But after Bradley went down with a shoulder injury in the playoffs, Allen resumed his starting role.

Ainge traded for Allen five years ago on draft night along with the 35th overall pick in the draft, which turned out to be forward Glen Davis in exchange for Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and the fifth overall pick, Jeff Green.

Allen joined forces with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Boston to form the "Big Three," which won the NBA Championship in its first season together in 2008.

Allen has decided to join the most powerful big three in the league right now, down in South Beach, by accepting Miami's offer.

The loss of Allen is a clear blow to the franchise, but the signing of Terry has made it easier to cope with.

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Bradley will presumably start after successful shoulder surgery, and Terry will come off the bench. Though the Celtics would have loved to have Allen back, this move helps their salary-cap flexibility, as he would have been on the books until 2014.

Since 2008, the Celtics have returned to the NBA Finals once and Eastern Conference finals twice but have yet to win another title. 

The team was a win away from the NBA Finals this past season and had two chances to advance but lost in both Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Heat.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

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