Ray Allen Reunion Should Be LeBron James' Top Priority After Return to Cavaliers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 21: LeBron James #6 and Ray Allen #34 of the Miami Heat high five during a game against the Boston Celtics at AmericanAirlines Arena on January 21, 2014 in Miami, Florida. 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. Mandatory copyright notice:  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

LeBron James attracts talent. Players, especially veterans who are more worried about winning titles than money, know that playing alongside him often equates to their best chance at a championship.

When it comes to Ray Allen, it sounds like The King may need to do some convincing.

The longtime sharpshooter has remained uncommitted about his future. At 38, he can walk away from the game as a 10-time All-Star, two-time NBA champion and one of the best pure shooters to ever step on the court.

It's an option the free agent is definitely considering.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reports Allen has considered retiring since last season ended and is still seriously thinking about calling it quits:

When Barry Sanders retired, we were all like, "What?'" He only played 10 years. We wanted him to play more. But he left on his terms. He was great. Ten was probably early. But you don't want to get to the point where you are on a downside and everybody's like, "You don't seem like you have it anymore."

Allen, like Sanders before his retirement, is still an asset. He's averaged 10 points per game over the past two seasons with the Miami Heat. His long-range shooting also remains intact, as he knocked down a shade under two three-pointers per contest with the Heat.

However, it sounds like if his heart isn't fully committed to playing another season, he's comfortable bringing an end to his career.

Perhaps a full-court press from James could change his mind. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported last month that Allen was leaning toward suiting up for at least one more season, but wanted to stay connected with the four-time MVP.

"Allen has a desire to continue playing alongside LeBron James, whom he developed a close relationship with during their two seasons together in Miami, whether it is with the Heat or another team," he wrote.

Of course, since that point James announced he was returning home with hopes of bringing a championship to Cleveland. He joined a roster that featured Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and Anderson Varejao.

What the roster didn't feature was scoring depth.

Dion Waiters has been a volume scorer over his two seasons in the NBA, and there weren't many options beyond him. Therefore, the Cavaliers have been looking to add some veteran shooters to the equation.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports Mike Miller accepted a smaller contract in order to join James in Cleveland. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal notes that James Jones will also jump on board after agreeing to a one-year deal.

Both Miller and Jones are solid role players with a history of playing with James. They aren't on the same level as Allen, though.

That's why King James' main efforts in the weeks ahead should center around trying to convince the guard to come back for at least one more run. You can never have enough perimeter shooting, as the San Antonio Spurs showed when they dismantled the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals.

If Allen isn't sure about going through the 82-game grind again, James can even try to get creative.

The Cavs should finish near the top of the Eastern Conference without any further help. Thus, they really don't need Allen to play the entire season. His signing would be more with an eye toward the playoff run.

In turn, if he doesn't want to play the full slate, James could try to convince him to sign at some point during the campaign. Perhaps something along the lines of joining Cleveland around the All-Star break, giving him a chance to get back into form in time for the postseason.

It's unclear whether Allen would be interested in that type of arrangement, but it's at least an option James should mention as he helps get the pieces in place.

Ultimately, a quick glance at the Cavaliers' roster shows a contender. If Andrew Wiggins lives up to the hype and Anthony Bennett is able to make some noticeable improvement after a forgettable rookie season, they could be the best team in the East.

They aren't the best team in the league yet, though. That title still belongs to the Spurs, regardless of what the oddsmakers may say. Vegas Insider currently has the Cavs as the front-runners for the 2015 NBA title.

It's debatable whether Allen would swing the balance of power, but he would close the gap at the very least.

That's why James should do everything he can to get the best three-point shooter in NBA history back on his side.


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