I’ve been wondering about the possibility of a no-trade clause for a while here with Ray Allen, as Danny Ainge attempts to re-sign his 37-year-old free agent shooting guard. Now though, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald is reporting that the C’s are strongly considering appeasing Allen with a no-trade clause or trade kicker (big salary raise if he’s dealt) in his next contract. Bulpett is also the one who broke the ‘KG re-signing’ story, so his word counts as much as anyone’s when it comes to the C’s.
Allen told the Herald months ago that he didn’t want to have to sweat out another trade deadline after nearly being moved in the past, and word is the Celts are ready to comply with either a no-trade clause or a trade kicker that would get him a good sized raise in salary if he does get moved.
There also has been talk of Allen’s poor relationship with point guard Rajon Rondo, and, frankly, we don’t know how much to read into this. There have been countless successful situations where stars have regularly bickered to no ultimate detriment.
It’s also interesting to note that, according to the source, Allen would already have a deal with the Celtics if they’d met his asking price, leading one to wonder whether there’s really anything to the Rondo rhetoric.
CH’s Analysis: I have thought for awhile that this could be the step needed to get a deal done with Allen for Boston and I’m glad to see Ainge has come to this realization as well. For however much the C’s have insisted they want Allen back, perhaps purely to keep him away from the Miami Heat, they could not escape the lingering bitterness Ray may have felt having been shopped two of the past three trade deadlines.
Allen came back to Boston after the first round of shopping in 2010, but he’s clearly at the point in his career where he doesn’t want to deal with it anymore. He appears to want the Celtics to put their money where their mouth is, when it comes to geographic security. A no-trade clause does that and eliminates — potentially — the biggest reason Ray would want to skip town and join the enemy in Miami.
I’ve argued already with Zach Lowe, author of the terrific Point Forward blog on SI.com (and formerly CelticsHub writer) about the wisdom of giving a 37-year-old shooting guard a no-trade clause when only two players in the NBA (Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant) have one. Lowe argued correctly that the C’s had the right to shop Ray the last few years and he’s entirely correct about that.
The issue here for the C’s, though, is that Allen is a prideful and confident guy. After being convinced to return to Boston on a 2-year deal back in 2010, Allen was shopped yet again this past March, with reports of a near-deal for O.J. Mayo leaked after the deal fell through. That kind of stuff is embarrassing to a guy who has thrived on routine and stability his entire career.
Due to this, Allen probably doesn’t trust the front office at this point when it comes to trades, hence a no-trade clause or high trade kicker being necessary here for Ray’s piece of mind. It may not be the smartest move for Boston in terms of roster flexibility, but Ainge dug his own grave on this one with his aggressive dealing mentality for the past three seasons. You do that and you have to be prepared to face the repercussions if you want to bring said player back.
Given the alternative is Ray leaving for Miami with no compensation, I can’t see how Allen doesn’t get what he wants here if the no-trade clause is the deal-breaker. Kevin Garnett likely came back because he was promised he would be surrounded by necessary pieces like Allen to make another run at championship. Allen is a key piece of that and losing him to Miami would be the equivalent of losing two games in the standings at once.
Now it may come down to who does a better job selling their team to Allen. Will the promise of more championships from LeBron James and Dwayne Wade be enough to lure him to Miami? Or will the loyalty and bond Allen has with Paul Pierce and Garnett be enough to bring Ray back to Boston to finish together what they started in 2007?
With the Clippers signing Jamal Crawford, eliminating any chance they had at signing Allen, we should know Ray’s decision in the next 24-48 hours. Will he still be content with 2 years and $12M? Could he want more from Boston annually, as well as another year (with a player option perhaps) as a sign of added respect and appreciation?
There are all questions that should be answered very soon.