Let the controversy begin.
Ray Allen has long been one of the game's most significant names. He's the all-time leading three-point shooter, a former NBA champion, a 10-time All-Star and the owner of 21 NBA records that cover the regular season, postseason, NBA Finals and All-Star Game.
It's safe to say that Ray Allen is important.
The latest update to Allen's resume, however, includes a change of scenery. The 16-year veteran has signed a three-year deal worth $9.5 million with the defending champion Miami Heat—the very Miami team that has battled the Boston Celtics in each of their past two postseason runs. The very Boston Celtics that Allen helped lead from 2007 to 2012 as the Heat developed into their greatest rival.
The question now becomes one of hot debate: Is loyalty dead, or does age eliminate moral standard in the signing process?
First and foremost, Boston Celtics fans have absolutely no reason to be upset with Ray Allen. The fact is, he made this very move to join the Celtics in the first place, the original free-agency-orchestrated Big Three.
Now that we've put that to rest, let's address the situation at hand. Ray Allen is entering the final stages of his career and has nothing left to offer the game but memories and championships. Due to this fact, Allen's options were limited, and the only rational scenario was for him to arrive in Miami.
Did Ray Allen make the right decision?
Boston have a verbal agreement with Jason Terry and are heavily behind youngster Avery Bradley. The Los Angeles Clippers signed both Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford, eliminating themselves from the conversation. The Minnesota Timberwolves were another option, but the likelihood that they win a championship is very weak.
To put it simply, the process of elimination left Allen where he ended up. Even if it hadn't, no team in the NBA could offer a 36-year-old who has fought off injuries a better chance to go out on top than the Miami Heat.
Ray Allen enters a situation where his role is clearly defined. He does not need to lead the team in scoring, nor does he need to put up 35 quality minutes a night. Instead, Allen can do what he specializes in: move without the basketball and shoot the lights out.
With elite players Dwyane Wade and LeBron James alongside him on the perimeter, Allen enters a situation he's never been faced with.
In Boston, he and Paul Pierce were clearly the best perimeter scorers, but they're hardly in possession of the physical skills of Wade and LeBron. For once in his career, Ray Allen will not be the top target of a defense. For the umpteenth time in his career, however, Ray Allen will be of incredible value.
Without their three-point shooters, the Miami Heat would not have won the NBA title. With Ray Allen on the roster, they're now the favorite to repeat for reasons that stretch beyond star power.
Hate it or love, Ray Allen made the right decision.