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Just How Long Could Ray Allen Play?

 

Our friend Jimmy Toscano over at CelticsBlog has a terrific piece this morning discussing the past, present and future of the sharpshooter’s NBA odyssey in anticipation of Allen setting the all-time three-point record tonight, (no sure thing to make two against the Lakers tonight however as we found out during last year’s NBA Finals). Nonetheless, there’s one particular part of Jimmy’s piece that stood out to me in particular, especially when discussing the Big Three’s “window of opportunity.” Just how long does Ray plan on playing?

Allen will be 36 years old when his current contract with the Celtics runs out, but there’s no chance that will be the last you see of him on the court. With his work ethic and peak physical condition, Allen could play into his 40′s – and seems to want to – on the Celtics, too.

“It’s not about me being here and thinking it’s the end of my career and I’m older and more tired and I’m not going to lift weights as much.”

That’s on the contrary actually. With each passing year, Allen seems to focus more and more on his health and wellness. One reason? His family.

“One of the things that I said about my longevity is I wanted my kids to really be able to see and understand what I’m doing, what I am, because I want it to have an impact on them in a positive way. Not that they felt like they had to walk in my shoes, just for them to see this and enjoy it and then me being able to teach them lessons through what I’m doing, bringing them into the gym.”

Allen became the person he is today through his upbringing on the military base and learning from the positive role models like his father on site. He wants to give his kids that same experience through his job.

“Right now they’re too young so I still think that they have opportunities to grow to seven, eight, nine years old where they’re going to be able to see me in the gym and want to come to work and shoot the basketball. And if you don’t end up playing in the NBA, at least you’ll obtain some of the disciplines and the ideas of how to work, and live, and eat, and be, at that age. Not that I’m pushing it on them, but just see; be a part of it.”

For those wondering, Allen’s oldest child is six years old, but the youngest is just one. If he’s waiting on that one, he’ll have plenty of time to extend upon his record setting three-point numbers.

“Say you break the record then three, four, five years down the line some other guy comes up and he gets to that point,” Allen said. “Whatever number it is right now that Reggie’s number is, I don’t want to be two three’s over it. I want to keep going and just keep pushing and then whatever that number is going to be it’s going to be.”

The drive to keep going has never been a problem for Allen.

“The journey is always the beautiful part,” he said.

It’s some terrific insight into Allen and given that the guy is putting up some of his best career shooting numbers as a 35-year-old playing over 35 minutes a game, it’s hard to question the fact that his career could extend into his 40′s with him still being a top 10 or 15 shooting guard in the league. He’s got a one year player option remaining at 10 million dollars for next year….and after that his future is unclear but it’s fair to ask. Just how long could you see him into a C’s uniform?

  • phreesh

    It does raise an interesting question. How long can today's players remain at the top of their game? Not so long ago, the big three would all be retired or playing limited minutes at this point in their careers. Could the Celtics milk another 2-3 years out of these guys and continue to pick up older players (O'Neals, Rip Hamilton, Raja Bell, whatever) to fill in the gaps and remain in the title hunt? I don't see why not.

    The fall and rebuilding process after they finally get over the hill would be a challenge, but giving up on them while they have something left would be a shame.

    • NHBluesMan

      or another option would be to pick up young talent to split the minutes with the starters like Shaq and Perkins do (when Shaq is healthy) and have the Big 3 eventually coming off the bench. Their longevity would increase and having them play 15-20 minutes a game against other teams benches would be very solid and keep us in the hunt for banners for YEARS!

      i doubt it would go down like that, but its nice to dream

  • NHBluesMan

    i'd love to see Ray retire as a Celtic, and his helping bring a title (and hopefully more than just 1) plus breaking the record, and the fact that he is an all around great guy… i'd like to see his #20 hanging in the rafters with the other Celtics greats… heck, maybe even along with 20 championship banners by the time he retires :-D

  • DRJ1

    At some point, every human reaches his/her peak, so that everything thereafter goes relatively downhill. All of our guys have either gotten there, or will soon. KG has gotten there. Paul maybe has, it's kinda hard to tell. I don't think Ray has yet. But of course, he will, someday.

    Question is: can and should the team still use these guys after they've reached their peak? I think the answer is 'yes.' What's required is really good coaching. The right coach could, at least theoretically, find ways to utilize talented players effectively, even if their best years are behind them. One good case in point: Tim Duncan. Another on our team is Shaq.

    Of course, at some point of the downhill ride, you can't win championships anymore. That's the point at which the player(s) should retire. Ray is far from there now. I suspect he COULD go on several more years. Who knows how many?

    But in the end, it will probably not be a winding down so much as an abrupt end, for most of our aging players, including Ray. It's likely that at some point, some injury will happen which will prove to be too much for Ray, and that's when he'll decide to retire.

    For now, we watch and enjoy, always hoping for the best.

  • SteveB

    Ray Allen, future 6th man of the year award winner.

    • Jay P

      Entirely a possibility. He absolutely has the mindset to accept that kind of role.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see him stick around for mid level type money through 2014, when Paul's deal expires. He might start, might not, doubt it would matter to him.

  • JP-

    I would love to see Ray coming off the bench like Shaq does when he gets a bit older, (hopefully at a discounted price too) in order to help any up and coming players we have along. Right now (because we don't need it) the Celtics don't have a future scorer on their roster. I would like to see in the next year or two, the Celts get a good scoring wing in the draft and have Ray and Paul help that player along. I think Ray could go till he is 39-40, at reduced minutes.

  • MikeD

    If Shaq can play at 38 with a huge body like that, Allen can surely play beyond that into his 40's. MJ for example was scoring 20 PPG at the age of 40, including a 43 point effort.

  • moshe

    if ray is 45 someone will still give him a (small) contract because he is a great leader, team player and role modle for younger players , not to mention a great teacher. even if he will only get scal like minutes he will not forget how to shoot.

  • skeeds

    Damn, Ray does really look like he can keep playing till he's 50. I suppose he's gonna start winding down in the next 1-2 years obviously, but he could still be a threat for years.

    No matter what, the Celtics organisation must do right by him. A player who sacrifised his game, essentially, playing #3 to Pierce's #1, and in doing so bought the Championship back to Boston, has to be honoured. Make sure he retires a Celtic, and make sure #20 goes up there with #5 in the rafters.

    Oh, and make him an offer to stay in the coaching saff. That jumpshot has to be passed on.!!!!

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