NBA Free Agency: Ray Allen to the Miami Heat Won't Cripple the Boston Celtics

Bryan Toporek@@btoporekFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 07:  (L-R) Ray Allen #20 and Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics look on dejected against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 7, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Jesus Shuttleworth has been replaced by Judas Shuttleworth in Boston.

News broke Friday night that Boston Celtics free agent Ray Allen had decided to take his talents to South Beach, despite the fact that the Celtics could offer Allen roughly twice as much money per season.

Naturally, the reaction out of Boston wasn't exactly positive.

Who could blame them? Allen, one of the Celtics' Big Three since the 2007-08 season, decided to break up the band and join the Celtics' most hated rivals from the past few years.

Now, the reigning NBA champions just added the best three-point shooter in NBA history.

The "rich get richer," as the Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley tweeted Friday night.

Before Bostonians go and burn down the Casa de Allen, they should realize that their team isn't all that much weaker without Allen on the roster, thanks to the other moves they've made this offseason.

For starters, bringing Kevin Garnett back on a three-year, $34 million deal gives the Celtics their defensive backbone again. Without KG, there's a strong chance the Celtics would have been forced to move into full-on rebuild mode, which would have given them absolutely zero shot of re-signing Allen.

In the past few days, Boston agreed to terms with Brandon Bass on a three-year deal and Jeff Green on a four-year deal, allowing them to bring back their starting power forward from this past season and the player for whom they traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City.

Terms remain unclear on each deal, making them difficult to judge at this point, but both players should be valuable members of the Celtics' rotation next season.

The Celtics also made the most of their two, late first-round picks in the NBA draft, picking Ohio State star Jared Sullinger, who slipped due to concerns about his back, and Fab Melo, the academically-troubled center from Syracuse.

With the additions of those two and Green, their paper-thin frontcourt from this past season looks much more fortified.

The key addition, in terms of replacing Allen, comes in the form of Jason "JET" Terry, who agreed to terms with the Celtics on a three-year deal for $5 million per year earlier this week.

If you're going to replace the guy with the most three-point field goals in NBA history (Allen), you can do much worse than the player with the fourth-most three-point field goals in NBA history (Terry).

Terry, who will be 35 when the season starts, is certainly no spring chicken. But with the soon-to-be 37-year-old Allen already being limited with bone spurs in his ankle this past season, can anyone blame the Celtics for hesitating to hand Allen the three-year, $27 million contract he was reportedly demanding?

As it turns out, the Celtics already appeared to be fighting an uphill battle in trying to retain the services of Allen, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

The relationship between Allen and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had supposedly deteriorated to the point of no return, Wojnarowski reported, and Allen wasn't thrilled about seeing his name in trade rumors in recent years, either.

With those two things in mind, who could blame the Celtics for pursuing a solid Plan B in Terry before locking Allen up to a $9 million-per-year deal?

Realistically, Terry should be able to slide into the hole Allen left without much of a problem.

Defensive bulldog Avery Bradley plans on returning fully healthy to Celtics training camp after shoulder surgery sidelined him midway through the playoffs, according to ESPN's Chris Forsberg. Considering that Bradley held opposing shooting guards to a PER of 7.6 this past season, according to, there's little question he'll be back in the starting lineup.

That leaves Terry, the 2009 Sixth Man of the Year, to do what he does best: provide instant offense off the bench.

Unlike Allen, who never appeared to embrace his role as the Celtics' sixth man this past season, Terry won't be offended by starting the game on the bench. Terry started a grand total of one game for the Dallas Mavericks this past season but still averaged around 15 points in 32 minutes per game.

Terry's a 38 percent shooter from downtown over his career, and shot 37.8 percent from three-point range this past season. He'll step into the floor-spacing role that Allen provided, and as ESPN's John Hollinger noted, at this stage of their respective careers, Terry can create his own offense more easily than Allen.

Throw in the cap considerations: Without Allen's deal, the Celtics are unlikely to venture into luxury-tax territory this season—and it's clear that beyond the sentimental value of Allen, the team isn't necessarily worse off this season.

Assuming the Celtics' new Big Three of Rondo, Garnett and Paul Pierce can all stay healthy, they'll be right back in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race this upcoming season.

Here's hoping for a rematch of this past year's Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference finals next year.

And if that does come to fruition...may the force be with you, Ray Allen.

The entirety of Boston will be gunning for you.