The Boston Celtics are still very much in the hunt to win the Eastern Conference, even without Ray Allen.
Allen will turn 37 in two weeks, he's coming off of a major ankle surgery that made him less than useless until the conference finals and is at this point in his career almost exclusively a jump shooter.
And he is going to single-handedly swing the title? I don't buy it.
Allen is going to make Miami a better team, but not significantly. While he is still the best shooter in the league, that's pretty much all that he brings to the table.
That might actually hurt the Heat. Allen's arrival pretty much just cost either Mario Chalmers or Shane Battier their spot in the crunch time rotation. Both of those guys shoot almost as well as Allen, but provide other things as well.
Losing Chalmers means losing a point guard who plays solid defense and can occasionally get to the hoop. Losing Battier means losing someone who shot 57.7 percent from long range in the Finals and is still an excellent defender.
Putting Allen on the floor in crunch time means he's going to have to defend someone. Against Oklahoma City that means either James Harden or Russell Westbrook. Against the Lakers it means either Kobe Bryant or Steve Nash.
And against Boston it means either Rajon Rondo or Jason Terry.
The Celtics are deeper than ever even without Ray Allen. At this stage in his career Terry is a better player anyway, and he doesn't mind coming off of the bench.
Trading an injured Allen for a healthy Avery Bradley, Jason Terry, Jeff Green, Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger and potentially another veteran free agent is a swap Boston should be more than happy to make.
Despite losing to the Heat in the playoffs, the Celtics aren't exactly scared of Miami. If not for Rajon Rondo's injury in 2011 the Celtics may have won that series, and Boston was up by 15 in Game 7 of this year's Eastern Conference Finals.
Losing Ray Allen hurts, especially to a rival like Miami, but it isn't a death blow. The Celtics are better than they were last year, and Ray Allen isn't the player he used to be. Losing a glorified role player isn't going to kill Boston's title chances. They'll be right in the thick of things next year.
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