Ray Allen Reportedly Exercises Player Option with Miami Heat for 2013-14 Season
According to South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter Ira Winderman, Allen will exercise his player option and remain with the two-time defending champs for the 2013-14 season:
Ray Allen agent Jim Tanner confirms to Sun Sentinel that Allen has opted in for next season, the last year on his deal, calls for $3.2M.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) June 28, 2013
Allen had the option of becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 37-year-old guard signed a two-year contract last summer worth about $6.32 million, which was the Heat's mid-level exception.
At the time, it was considered a far-below-market-value deal. The Boston Celtics, the team where Allen won his first NBA championship, had offered Allen a two-year deal worth $12 million—about double what Miami could.
Allen chose to spurn his old team and join forces with the formidable trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. It was the first of many personal sacrifices the future Hall of Famer would make to compete for an NBA championship.
A starter for 1,140 of his 1,148 NBA games before arriving in Miami, Allen found himself coming off the bench for the first time in his career. Wade's presence at the shooting-guard spot necessitated Allen playing a vital sixth-man role. He had gone from being a founding member of the Celtics' "Big Three" to becoming part of the "and others" extension of Miami's great threesome.
As he did at other junctures in his career, Allen found a way to excel in his new secondary role. Despite setting career lows for minutes (25.8) and points (10.9) per game, Allen's presence helped take Miami's offense to a new level of dynamism. By giving the Heat an extra floor-spacer, he allowed the team to further integrate the small-ball identity it embraced during the 2011-12 playoffs.
Allen's ability to hit threes—he's perhaps the greatest three-point shooter who has ever lived—commanded such respect from defenses that it made life infinitely easier for Miami's other stars.
That effect became readily apparent in this year's playoffs.
Facing top-notch defenses like the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs, the Heat struggled with offensive stagnation—except when Allen was on the floor.
For all of his subtle contributions, Allen's most vital act to aid the Heat's championship cause came in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. With Miami's back against the wall, down 95-92 with one possession to tie the game, Chris Bosh rebounded a missed three-pointer by LeBron James.
Bosh looked around quickly in search of a passing lane, saw Allen scampering back toward the right corner and put the season in the future Hall of Famer's hands.
Allen's shot, in what many would call a "Jesus Shuttlesworth" moment, touched nothing but net. The Heat would go on to a 103-100 win in overtime, with Allen leading the team with four points in the extra period.
While everyone was quick to laud Wade and James for their superlative performances in Game 7, it's safe to say they never would have had the opportunity to close out the series without Allen's heroics.
Now, Allen will attempt to help the Heat become the latest in the NBA's limited line of three-peating dynasties. His return will not only enable Miami to keep its mid-level exception available in case the team wishes to add another veteran piece, but it also gives the Heat one of the best shooters in league history.
This was the result the Heat franchise and Allen had in mind when they paired up last summer. It will be interesting to see what they do for an encore.
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