Free agency officially kicked off with a bang at midnight Sunday morning and as suspected there are already a countless number of rumors out there, many from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, linking the C’s to shooting guards such as Jamal Crawford, O.J. Mayo, and even Jason Terry.
However, it has been become clear that the thing that makes the most sense for the C’s (as I wrote about at length last week) is trying to bring back Ray by signing him with the team’s bird rights on him and use mid-level exception money elsewhere to help further upgrade the team’s bench.
With that in mind, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald keeping Allen is on the top of Ainge’s to-do list for the start of free agency:
Regardless of who else the Celtics eventually sign, Ainge said this morning that signing Ray Allen is “our number one priority.”
“We want Ray back, and we’re approaching this as the first thing we have to get done,” said the Celtics president of basketball operations.
Thankfully, Ainge is appearing to back up those statement with a very solid contract offer of 2 years and $12 million dollars, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. Those numbers are twice what Miami can offer per year, and a million beyond what Memphis can offer with the mid-level exception each year.
Source: Celtics willing to double (in terms of $) Heat offer to Ray Allen. Will give 2 years/$12 million. Heat can offer only $3 mill a yr
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 1, 2012
Will it be enough though? It’s too early to tell. Ray has to be content with his role coming off the bench, as well as satisfied with the belief he won’t be shopped yet again this year at the trade deadline for the third straight season. Will he ask for a no-trade clause, something Ainge undoubtedly will be hesitant to give? What else can the C’s do to appease him? And the will the allure of the best shot at a championship (Miami) or a potential starting job (Memphis) keep Ray from keeping the Big Three intact for another year? We will find out soon.
For more on the battle the C’s have to face mending fences with Ray click HERE