Ray Allen Should Join LeBron James on Cleveland Cavaliers

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (34) and forward LeBron James stand on the bench in the closing seconds of a 93-90 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals in Indianapolis, Wednesday, May 28, 2014. The Heat lead the series 3-2. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Regardless of what Ray Allen does during the 2014-15 NBA season, he will go down as one of the best shooting guards of all time.

That should matter when he is contemplating what he should do with his immediate basketball future. After all, if he joined LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, he would have nothing to lose and possibly a third championship ring to gain.

Of course, that’s not the only thing for Allen to take under consideration, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders pointed out:

Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio added some more context to what seems like an immediately impending decision:

Nobody would ever fault someone for wanting to spend more time with their family, but Allen has to be enticed by the Miami Heat North renaissance that is happening in Cleveland. Mike Miller and James Jones have already taken their talents to the banks of Lake Erie, and the Cavs also landed some guy named James earlier in the offseason.  

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

One thing that probably won’t happen is Allen deciding to return to Miami, although Heat coach Erik Spoelstra discussed as much, via Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel:

“We knew that he wanted to take some time and be patient to see where he is. We'll see what happens. I don't even know where we'll be with our roster, but we owe a lot to Ray.”

The Heat and basketball fans everywhere owe Allen plenty. He is a 10-time All-Star who has made more three-pointers than anyone else to ever play. What’s more, he is 26th on the all-time scoring list and is a virtual lock for the Hall of Fame. The fact that he is contemplating another season at the age of 39 is a testament to his work ethic and overall ability.

Allen teamed with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in 2008 to give the Boston Celtics their first title since the 1985-86 season. He also won a championship with the Heat and hit arguably the biggest shot in franchise history against the San Antonio Spurs in the closing moments of Game 6 of those 2013 NBA Finals.

Had he missed that three-pointer from the corner, both Allen and James would have one less ring.

Allen was also one of the game’s best players during his prime on the Seattle Supersonics and Milwaukee Bucks.

He has absolutely nothing left to prove in the NBA, and a season in Cleveland with his running-mate James would be a no-pressure way to finish up a historically excellent career.

Yes, Allen’s game isn’t what it used to be, but that is to be expected as he continues to age. He is still more than capable of producing from the wing and averaged 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and two assists last year for the Heat behind 44.2 percent shooting from the field and 37.5 percent shooting from downtown.

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Playing alongside James, Andrew Wiggins and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland would mean plenty of open looks from the perimeter. All three of them can penetrate the lane and force defenders to collapse, which will free up Allen on the outside. Plus, with other shooters like Jones and Miller, defenders won’t be able to simply focus on Allen behind the three-point line.

The relatively young Cavaliers would greatly benefit from Allen’s veteran leadership and presence, and a chance at a third ring would be the perfect way for Allen to end his Hall of Fame career. Very rarely is there such little downside with any NBA decision.


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