Ray Allen's expiring contract has now taken center stage.
During the last eight months, we have seen the future of Glen (Uno Uno) Davis and Rajon Rondo come into question, get shopped, and remain in Boston with higher paid salary extensions.
Now Allen's future seems to be going down the same path. Hearing sound bites like, "it's a business," and, "we will have to see how it plays out," has made me think the impossible about Allen. Will he be a Celtic next season?
Always intelligent and classy, Allen remains in love with being a part of the Celtics franchise and made it clear that he would love an extension before the end of this season.
From the Boston Globe
"I would love to be here,’’ Allen said Saturday. “In my mind right now, for me there’s no other place to be. It’s a great tradition. This is really NBA basketball to me, being a part of a team and the tradition of winning, a great fanbase. But the situations have to be addressed. There is a business connected to it. The team is going to do what they think is necessary. We’ll have to make a decision based on how they come to me business-wise.’’
It's apparent Allen is concerned about his future being somewhere other than Boston. Ray Allen has made a ton of money over his career. When talking about Steve Nash's decision to take a lesser salary last season, Allen all but came out and directly told the media that he would settle for a lesser salary to remain in green.
Allen doesn’t want to be in that situation, which is why he said he’s ready to agree to an extension now if the Celtics are interested. "I am a loyalty person. If the opportunity presented itself to get a deal at the current moment as we speak, I would be all over it,’’ said Allen, who is averaging 15.9 points per game.
“So moving forward, I don’t have to worry about how the summer is going to go and long term, we, at least between myself, Kevin [Garnett] and Paul [Pierce], we know we are going to be here, Rasheed [Wallace] and [Rajon] Rondo. You know what the core is going to be.’’
Allen seemed to forget about Kendrick Perkins who is signed through 2012. The core lineup, as Allen sees it through 2011, would be Rondo, Peirce, Garnett, Perkins, Allen, "Uno Uno," and Wallace. That lineup would have an average age of 31 years old.
What may be even scarier is that the Celtics would have about $12 million—counting Ray as a $10 million salary after this season—to round out the rest of the six roster spots. That does not even address Paul Pierce's re-signing in 2012.
If you think Ray Allen is concerned about playing time and salaries as he enters the twilight of his career, think again.
From the Boston Herald
"Have you ever known me to worry about being in the game or playing less minutes?” he said. “I’ve always said I would love to see Tony Allen play more. I would love to see Marquis (Daniels) in there playing more minutes. It means a great deal to this team.
“We’re in a great position on the floor, and we definitely plan to play a long time, going into June. It does spare me. It spares me a great deal, but the one thing I can say is that I’m in great shape. I never feel winded when I’m on the floor. I’m going to come out, and I’m going to need a break and to get guys in there who are just fresh, period.
“This is what I do for a living, so I live my life according to it—how I’m going to play when it’s game day,” he said. “Forty minutes is a lot of minutes as you get older, but whatever comes up next year and however it comes, I’m ready for whatever it is, whatever Doc (Rivers) needs me to do, whatever this team ends up being. I could fit right in with what needs to be done.”
And he would do it in a way that fits this team’s financial picture.
“At this point, what I’m making now, I made a great living throughout my career,” he said. “I know going into next year, I won’t make the money I’m making now. I know that.
“I’m ready to be here. I’d love to retire with this organization. That’s up to the team, but I want to be here. This team has proven over decades to be a winner in sports. I’m committed to it, and that’s what I would like to do.”
Allen's remarks to the media are what always drive my heart to pump "vulcan-like" blood, wanting him to retire a Celtic. I cannot allow my heart to rule my head. Though I am not required to make any decisions regarding Allen, other than to have a complete temper tantrum if he is dealt, Danny Ainge is required to make major decisions.
As discussed, in detail, in this week's edition of the Celtics Late Night Show, I would absolutely love to see Allen re-sign for about $8 million and re-enforce the Celtics bench, while Ainge goes out and shops for a top-tier shooting guard to play alongside Rondo. I would love to see Joe Johnson come back to Boston. Who wouldn't?
However, as discussed in the show, re-signing Allen may make the signing of a top-tier guard like Johnson impossible this summer. Without a similar upgrade, where does that leave the C's entering the 2011 season?
Consider my "Keep Ray Allen Campaign" to be officially on hold. Going in depth with salary cap whiz Craig from 4 Sport Boston during the last edition of the Celtics Late Night Show kind of brought things into perspective for me. Witnessing the Celtics' challenges with age this season, it's apparent that the C's need to get younger next season. By the looks of it, that may mean dealing the one guy who best epitomizes Celtics Pride.
This article can be viewed in its entirety and North Station Sports.