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Mending Fences: Why The Celtics Should Bring Back Ray Allen

 

The marriage between the Boston Celtics and Ray Allen has lasted five eventful seasons. There have been a staggering number of highlights throughout their run together, but like any relationship that lasts that long, the duo have had their fair share of conflicts. The Celtics [Danny Ainge] have looked around a little too much at times around the league for potential possibilities, causing some hurt feelings.

Allen himself is five years older from when the romance started, has reportedly been a bit too “demanding” at times (not enjoying a demotion to the bench) and has not always got along with everyone in the Celtics’ family (Rajon Rondo).

Thanks to some of these issues and a variety of other factors, most people “in the know” in the basketball world acknowledge both sides are probably ready to move on this summer and end the relationship for seemingly greener pastures. Miami appears to be the favorite to land Ray, at this juncture according to multiple reports.

I’m not ready to give up on this relationship however. Instead, I’m ready to serve as a mediator. Ultimately, when the dust settles, both sides can still be good for each other and should be able to give each other what they want to make this relationship work for at least another year or two. Undoubtedly, the circumstances have changed since the flame started five years ago, but both parties can still help each other get what they want: money and a chance at a championship.

The issues I described above between the couple should not be deal-breakers. Fences can hopefully be mended, apologies can be made and unless there is more to the story than what’s out there now (a distinct possibility) I think both sides can make it work. Thus, I present you the case on why Boston should want to keep Ray Allen…and why he may want to stay.

Why Boston Should Keep Ray

Performance
Quick Celtics fans, name the best season Allen has had shooting in a C’s uniform from downtown. Now tell me when was the best season Allen has had shooting from three-point range in his entire storied career. Got you stumped on that last one? That’s because it was a trick question! The answer is the abbrieviated 2011-12 regular season for both.

You wouldn’t know it the way some C’s fans talk about Ray now, but Allen shot an incredible 45.3 percent from 3-point range last year. 45.3 percent! That was the fifth best mark in the entire NBA.

Allen clearly came back down to earth in the postseason where he averaged 39.5% shooting from the field, and 30.4% shooting from downtown, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of most observers undoubtedly, but guess what? Those are the numbers you have to expect when someone is playing on an ankle that needed surgery for two-plus months. The Celtics shouldn’t penalize him for that in evaluating his performance, instead they should be appreciative of the fact he gutted it out for the C’s in their deep run to the Eastern Conference finals.

There’s no denying Allen has undoubtedly declined in some aspects of his game. His defense is questionable at best. He can’t create his own shot much anymore. However, when healthy, the man can still shoot, better than almost anyone else in this league still. Given the fact, the Celtics were a bottom-5 offensive team in the league last year, I don’t see how saying goodbye to Allen helps that, which brings us to our next point.

The Celtics had plenty of big problems last year before the All-Star break, but Allen was not one of them. Once Doc Rivers shifted Kevin Garnett to center after the All-Star break, the C’s went 6-2 with Allen in the starting lineup, before he hurt his ankle on March 12th in Los Angeles. It wasn’t just Avery Bradley who was playing well over those last three months of the regular season. Everyone was playing better. Before he got hurt, Allen was still a major contributor. He could still be that guy coming off the bench for Boston next season.

A Lack Of Potential Alternatives
It’s time to move on for Boston, say many observers on Allen. Bradley played incredible last year (when healthy) and the team needs to get younger. Fair enough I say. Now, go find me someone who can be had at Ray Allen’s price that would be an adequate replacement. Also do this, knowing the Celtics would just have 5 million dollars to spend (the MLE) in all likelihood since that cap room we’ve heard about will likely be spent on bringing by Garnett and other key C’s free agents for next season, something Ainge openly acknowledged in an interview with WEEI last week.

Guys like O.J. Mayo, Lou Williams, and Carlos Delfino aren’t coming here for 5 million dollars as a starting salary. Other attractive names like Courtney Lee are restricted free agents that have teams which will likely match any reasonable offer.

Spending that five million on Allen’s replacement also means the C’s don’t spend that money on a big man, which I would argue is a much bigger need for Boston in the interim.

There are alternatives of course to signing someone. Boston could do a sign-and-trade conceivably for a guy like Jamal Crawford, a 31-year-old coming off one of the worst shooting seasons of his career who also plays less defense than Allen.

Boston could turn over the car keys to Mickael Pietrus, E’Twaun Moore, and a potential 2012 draft pick or two. This is a very possible option, but wouldn’t you rather have Allen coming off the bench over these guys as your primary option? I would.

The Celtics have bird rights on Allen so they can spend as much on him as they want. He won’t cost nearly as much as his $10 million dollar salary from last season, so Ainge can pay him under a potential one or two-year deal for exactly what the market dictates if he wants. That market may not be very pricey, especially if Allen wants to play for a contender.

Why Allen Should Want to Return to Boston

Lack of Money/Opportunity From Contenders
We’ve heard about all kinds of suitors so far for the shooting guard from around the league. Miami, Chicago, New York, LA Clippers….they all want Ray! And their interest should be no surprise, due to his shooting numbers. Can any of them afford to give Ray more money than the C’s though? Probably not. Let’s run through their situations quickly.

Miami – As Brian Windhorst described earlier this week, Miami is already in over the salary cap for next season, so it’s likely the very most they can pay Allen (barring an sign-and-trade) is $3 million per year. That’s a 70 percent pay cut for Ray, despite perhaps knowing going to Miami is his best chance at winning a title. If Mike Miller is gone, Ray could be a nice fit, but otherwise, with Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers entrenched down there, Ray would be coming off bench.

New York – With J.R. Smith likely to return and plenty of their own players to sign, New York, like Miami could probably only offer Ray $3 million a season, and would likely have him come off their bench.

Chicago – Same deal as Miami, as they are over the cap. This is sounding familiar. Plus, they are stuck with Richard Hamilton and have Kyle Korver coming off the bench. They need offense, but not someone with Allen’s limited skillset.

LA Clippers – Finally, a “contender” with a little money to spend. Not as much as you might think though, as they will be close to the salary cap mark at $58 million depending on what they decide to do with Mo Williams (who has $8.5 million player option). With Nick Young, Randy Foye as their own free agents along with Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe already in place, not sure what problem Allen solves for them. Offense isn’t an issue in LA.

Atlanta- They have 6 players under contract and are over the cap already. A lot of holes to fill with minimal money. Barring a trade, Allen is doubtful to be on the radar.

I could keep going through teams here, but I think you get the idea. Most contenders don’t have significant cap room, and the ones that do are unlikely to spend it on Ray. The sharpshooting guard should expect to get no more than 3-5 million dollars from any contender, and a spot coming off the bench. That’s probably the exact same thing he could get in Boston, maybe even a little more if Danny is feeling generous.

Why Fences Might Not Be Mended

All of the situations above come with a caveat for Allen, who turns 37 next month. The Celtics may be looking to upgrade at the position via a sign-and-trade. There also may be a bigger rift behind the scenes with Rondo than we thought. However, the way Danny and Doc are talking about Allen right now, you wouldn’t guess that. (Via CSNNE.com)

“You’ll hear that [Miami is interested in Ray] and probably 10 other teams,” Rivers said Tuesday. “If they don’t have interest in him, then they’re crazy. But we have interest, too.”

“Ray is going to do what he should do, actually, ” Rivers said. “Is look around and see (what’s available). We’ll be involved as well.”

My guess is the biggest battle here in keeping these two together will be Boston trying to appease Allen. The future Hall-of-Famer has probably had his ego wounded while he was here over the past couple years. He didn’t like to be dangled at the trade deadline every year as trade bait. He probably didn’t appreciate the demotion to the bench, which was beyond his control with Bradley playing so well with the starters. He might be butting heads with Rondo behind the scenes and he might be hesitant to come off the bench for an organization that hasn’t shown him the most appreciation (you could argue) in recent years. It may be more than a money decision in which Allen decides to move on from Boston and if it is, I respect that.

In my opinion though, those reasons I just described aren’t reason enough for Ray to leave flat out. Boston has their ace in the hole with Rivers in trying to woo Ray back. Allen could still play 30 minutes for this team off the bench next year and be very successful at it with a far deeper bench surrounding him. Would Ainge promise not to trade Ray if he came back? Probably not, but it’s a reasonable request if you’re Allen at this point.

The fact of the matter is, if both sides want this to happen, they can make it work. Boston has the money to pay Ray, and if Ray wants to play, get paid fairly, and win he could do far worse than staying in this relationship. As long as Allen doesn’t demand more than two years (even that might be too much) Danny Ainge should bring him back. I’ll let Allen explain why in his remarks after Game 7.

Q. Ray, do you think with the core perhaps back and some reinforcements and some changes, you guys could make another run next year?
ALLEN: “I think a lot of people forget how we started the season. It was so helter skelter trying to put together a team. We went through a lot of adversity this year, losing Wilcox and losing Jeff Green. Under the circumstances, you know, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. By no means do we think that it was a fluke or that our young guys, they played hard for us. Kevin, I don’t know what Kevin’s situation is. There’s still a lot of basketball left in my legs. I know that for sure. So it’s hard to say what can happen, what may happen. But four of us know how to play basketball. We know how to win games.”

They know how to win games, Danny. If this relationship is not beyond repair, Ray should return and help give them one more chance to make a run. Bringing back Allen may be a long shot at this point, but his return may help Boston put their best foot forward heading into next year.

  • GreenM&M

    Would love to see him come back.

    But I think Miami will use the amnesty on Miller (I think he is set to retire because of anyway) and then use that money to sign Ray. I'm afraid 5 million and a really good shot at the title will be enough to entice him to go down there,

    Excuse me while I barf into my cheerios.

    • OKCeltic

      Even if they amnesty Miller, Miami's still over the cap.

      • GreenM&M

        Good call. Maybe I'll be able to hold down my lunch :)

  • Ford

    i hate the idea of Jamal Crawford coming in the replace ray allen. as it is well documented that crawford is a volume shooter. he need a ton of shots to get points while allen is much more efficient. granted both would get a lot of shots coming off the becnh, allen would probably be cheaper and i think more reliable.

  • NHBluesMan

    the only way i'd be ok with Ray leaving would be for a sign & trade to Atlanta to bring in Josh Smith.

    I know that has a very low chance of happening, but seeing Ray in a Heat uniform would hurt… as long as he doesn't end up with MIA or LAL i'll be happy

  • Brian

    Even if Miami uses the amnesty on Mike Miller they will still be paying the luxury tax and can't offer anymore than the 3M mid level. I think if Ray goes to Miami it will be about the best chance to get another ring and being on a team that he knows won't dangle him in a trade every chance it gets. It will sting to see him down there but it's time for he and the Celtics to go their seperate ways.

  • zach

    I love Ray, but unless he is happy coming off the bench we have to let him go. Combinations with him and PP on the floor at the same time did not work well last year – its fine to have one older wing player, but 2 really starts to hurt your defense, plus they would have lots of turnovers on long passes that would get intercepted (Ray and PP are no longer great at getting to the ball quickly).

  • vasco

    rondo-bradley-pierce-garnett- good rebounding big man / rondo-allen-green-bass-wilcox/steamboat. that's a 10 man rotation I'd like to see. Allen in Miami makes no sense to me. Being a underpaid bench player subbing for wade isn't something I think will entice Ray.

    • kg215

      I don't like Ray going to Miami but all you people who say Miami is a worse fit than the Celtics are not very intelligent or lying to yourselves. Miami has the best player in the nba, and the other 2 stars of the team are in their prime. They just won a championship and in theory Lebron/Wade could get better for another couple of years. Yes Ray might come off the bench behind Wade, but how is that more insulting than coming off the bench behind Bradley? The money is the only thing that equalizes things, don't forget Ainge has insulted Ray Allen multiple times too.

      • vasco

        Because wade is a douche? Because NBA players are competitive and don't wan't to be subs to rivals? Because playing with bradley is an opportunity to mentor a smart kid, and still get quality minutes, and start a few times? Because Spoelstra is a coaching dwarf next to Doc? Because South Beach is a vacuous town with vacuous fans? How many more reasons do you need for it not to make any sense?

  • CTVT802

    New York Knicks, sadly, are the most likely option. JR Smith declined his $2.4 million contract option, so he will become a free agent. The Knicks also need a marksmen shooter as their current roster has 8 players (5 of which are forwards/centers). Shumpert/Douglas are awful 3 point shooters as well. Carmelo is the only other player who is good at shooting on their team, and he wont be left open too often.

    • vasco

      hmmm novak?

      • Big 4 fan

        I was thinking the same thing. I think Novak had the highest made 3 point percentage last year. Novak and RAY on the floor at the same time would be deadly.

  • http://iamdustdaughter.wordpress.com Didi Jenning

    I hope he stays in Boston. Who knows how Miami will defend their title? They could repeat like the Lakers or get bounced out of the first round of the playoffs like the Mavs. I hope things aren't so bad behind the scenes that he'd think it was worth moving his family, getting less money, and playing for a coach who isn't as good as Doc,

  • High Rollers

    Ray’s a smart, talented dude coming off a very frustrating season where career numbers didn’t correlate with good times. But he’s a proud warrior among warriors with the Celtics. I think that this summer spell refreshes his Celtic I.D. (for all the reasons so well stated in this post) and he returns more devoted to 18 than ever.

    • High Rollers

      I'm hoping the dance being played out in the media is just Ray trying to stay on top of his situation. I hope he wants to come back and help the C's get past Miami et al. next season.

  • skeeds

    it really makes no sense to bring any other "shooter" in his place. No one's better at his job, and except Korver, who is a better defender/energy guy, no other shooter bring anything more to the table. And as much as I'd love a young sparkplug like Shannon Brown in green, the truth is that with an abnormal pg such as Rondo, you need a good shooter.

    I just hope whatever the issues are, they can be worked out…

    • kg215

      I hope you are not implying Korver is a better defender than Ray Allen. Old or not, bone spurs or not, Ray can still defend better. If you are going to say no one is better at his job and then use the word "except" it better not be Kyle Korver or anyone that low caliber.

      • skeeds

        Chill man, the "except" goes for the "bring anything more to the table", not the "shooter". Ray's as good a shooter as it gets. Korver's not even top 5.
        What Korver has shown, at least this last season, is that he can be a bit more physical and aggressive on defense. Maybe it was just Thibs's system rubbing off on him, but I was a bit impressed by him.

  • Miggy_Miggz

    Somehow convince him to come back, we really do need him. Does so much for our offense even if he's not shooting well, his presence alone is intimidating for a defense.

    But for real Ray, anywhere but Miami

    • Big 4 fan

      I Agree, we lost that first game against the Hawks when Allen was out and Avery was playing pretty well. The spacing on the floor with Ray out of the game was horrible since no one respected Bradley(hopefully that will change this year with more playing time). ____We need RAY…Doc always draws up a play for Ray in a late game when the score is close. They trust him to knock down those shots. If he goes we would have Paul or KG and maybe Rondo(he is playing much better lately). BUT we would also have to be concerned with him knocking down those same shots with another team in close games. Not something i want to think about!!!!

  • GowGow

    He didn't like coming off the bench for the Cs, why would he want to come off the bench for Wade? Besides, he's paycheck won't be the only thing cut, so would be his minutes. In Boston he comes off the bench but still has his 30 minutes of playtime, in Miami not so much.

  • janos

    i like see all team back, plus new young rebander ultimate;am not loyal this guy. am only loyal two thing, celtics . if stay continued love full, if leave then he can go to the hell

    is possible get preivuew draftnba, post +before, draft player round one AND celtics, all round, complete.

  • Cornhead

    Ray, where else will you get a 2-minute standing ovation just for returning to the lineup after 10/15 games off due to injury? You know the Celtics are special, and with you as the 6th-man of the year winner in the NBA in '12-'13, we will dethrone the Heat. Just look at the impact players like Terry for the Mavs and Harden for the Thunder have coming off the bench.

    We need you Ray! We want you Ray! You're still a great fit. Please retire a Celtic!

  • emg

    Can someone clarify for me the source / actual evidence of the belief that Rondo/Allen had tension?

  • emg

    The belief is that Chris Mannix said there was tension while on the radio and CelticsHub thinks it's accurate because "Chris Mannix is well versed and connected within Boston circles, so his word here comes with some validity." In the same interview Mannix says "how much tension existed, we don't know."

    My feeling is that Allen knows there's not really a guard in the world who can – or would – give him as many open looks at Rondo. I think he might be soured by the Bradley situation and insufficiently "cherished" – but I think as journalists we shouldn't marshall the Mannix interview as if it was fact. If Rondo and Allen were really fighting in a significant way, there would not have been such strong and persistent folklore from the whole gang about this group being such a special team.

  • TropicalGreen

    Ray. The health care in the Miami area sucks and the school system is 49th in th nation. Do NOT bring your family here. There is no point guard in Miami ie no assists. I think a one year 5 mill no trade with a second year team option would keep you happily ensconsced in green utilizing all the basketball that's left in those legs. You know being the sixth man is part of the Celtic tradition, it's not who's on the floor to start but whos on the floor to finish. Ask Havlicek.

  • Get Banner 18!

    RAY, PLEASE STAY. You're my favorite Celtic and I think it just doesn't make sense for you to leave.

  • Justin

    I Think Ray Allen was hurt a lot this season cause he was coming off the worst season in his career his numbers were low and he wasn’t healthy as usual Ray Allen takes such good care of his body it probably was frustrating he couldn’t stay healthy especially for a guy who is always in top shape Danny Ainge is not the smartest man in the world but I do believe his goal is to bring Ray KG Bass and the whole cast back for another few years I honestly believe Ray will be back in Boston next season trust me yeah I know coming off the bench was hard for him but that’s what we needed to do since Bradley plays so well with Rondo and Ray actually came up to Doc and told him he wanted to come off the bench but I think Ray would rather stay in Boston with a good coach loyal fans and get paid more than half of what he made last year cause the Heat Knicks and Clippers can’t really pay what Ray what he wants he said he wants to be secure with his job so all those teams can only sign him to a one year deal which won’t excite him he would rather sign a 2 or 3 year deal in order to play and we can do that he’s already been working out in Boston but I believe his heart and dedication is in Boston his family and most of all his Coach and teammates it’s bad enough Perkins is gone we don’t need for Ray or KG to walk neither unless it’s retirement but Ray Allen is just waying his options but at the end of the day Boston will have more to offer him than anyone else so he won’t be going to Miami they want Ray more than he wants them and plus he’s not gonna want to go to a team were he comes off the bench get little mins and little pay the Celtics can get him more money better coach more mins and better fans.

  • John Decker

    I love Ray but if he signs with the Heat, we're done.

  • Morpheus

    Exactly.say what you want. But where is Danny going to get guy like Ray in FA? Simple, he isn’t, tbere isn’t one available.

    Danny said it already, we have the top 2 FAs available to us, why let Ray go now.

    Please Danny, resign Ray and let’s make #18 happen next year.

  • Rolltide3332

    Am I right that I heard mike miller is coming back? That would mean another person to share minutes with.

  • Mike Jones

    Mike Miller is toast,he is in way to much pain to keep up with Miami's pace.Lebron is only going to get better than last year and the team chemistry is growing!We welcome Ray Allan to South Florida where he can chill-out and and then blow -out any resistence form contenders from the three point line while the BIG THREE dominate the interior.Good luck Boston next year, you guys only missed the finals by one quarter!

  • archie

    I think the best way for another finals run is to make Ray stay in Boston, if he is healthy next season and he's range is back it would be a problem for the heat. Imagine if all the Celtics player are healthy, they even gave Miami a hard time winning in the recent eastern conference finals with almost half of the team injured.

    -Jesus is smiling in the city of Boston-

  • daveacim

    great to hear DA wants Allen back and sees this as priority #1

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