Celtics

Hard To Fault Ray Allen If He Joins Heat

By Matthew Geagan, CBSBoston
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Free agent guard Ray Allen. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Free agent guard Ray Allen. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – It has been a trying few days for Boston Celtics fans.

With free agency set to begin July 1, there have been stories of Kevin Garnett visiting San Antonio and Ray Allen potentially joining the Heat.

Breathe easy with Garnett green-teamers; he was only down there for a charity event. Keyon Dooling was in tow, so it’s unlikely the Spurs are looking for a package deal of discount Celtics veterans. Plus, that would be illegal for the Spurs to be talking with free agents before July 1, and we all know nothing shady goes down in the NBA.

Read: Doc Thinks KG Will Return

Ray Allen and Miami on the other hand, that has some legs – surgically repaired ones.

Miami’s interest in Allen, and vice-versa, goes back to the summer of 2010, when the Super Friends assembled and wanted a veteran mate with some championship experience. Instead, Ray opted to re-sign with Boston for another season.

But after a 2012 campaign in which Allen battled injuries and trade rumors, and was eventually replaced by Avery Bradley in the starting rotation, it’s understandable that he is looking elsewhere in what is likely his final season or two in the NBA.

It’s a business. It always is.

“Ray is doing what he should do,” Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday morning from the Coffee with Coaches Breakfast at Fenway Park. “He’s listening to offers. Other teams are interested, but we’re interested, too.”

Listen: Could Ray Allen Leave For Miami?

Were Allen to pack up and (wait for it) “take his talents to South Beach,” it would certainly sting Celtics fans. It was bad enough they had to watch LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh raise their first banner together after dispatching the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, but watching Ray join the party would bring back memories of Johnny Damon bouncing for the Yankees (although that would be more like Allen leaving to join the Lakers).

There will be cries of loyalty if Allen goes to Miami, that he is just trying to get another ring the easy way. But when it comes to loyalty, it works both ways. The Celtics would love to have the NBA’s all-time 3-point shooter back, but let’s not forget they tried to trade him throughout the season. Who is to say that won’t happen again if Allen returns on a one-year deal?

Allen wants a multi-year deal, and there will be teams out there willing to give it to him. The Clippers – who are said to be the front-runners along with the Heat if Allen doesn’t stay in Boston – can offer him the years, the money, and possibly a starting job. The Heat will give him a chance to win another title, and instead of taking a backseat to 21-year-old Bradley he would be taking a backseat to Wade, the 2006 Finals MVP. The Knicks are also in the mix, and Allen wouldn’t even have to move his family halfway across the country.

NBA Draft: Will The Celtics Use Both First Rounders?

Chances are Ray Allen will not be a Boston Celtic next season. For a team that has been trying to move on from veteran players, parting ways with the soon-to-be 37-year-old might make the most sense – both for Allen and the team. It was an up and down ride, both on and off the court, last season, with Ray going through extreme hot and cold stretches. Before an angry shoulder that wouldn’t stay in place knocked Bradley out of the playoffs, the young guard was showing the NBA he was ready to play with the best. While offensively he is no Ray Allen, Bradley’s defense — and ability to run for 40 minutes — should make 2013 a somewhat easier transition.

Ray Allen gave the Celtics five very good seasons, some great shooting, and was a key part to the 2008 NBA title. But when it comes down to the business of the game, it’s what works best for the player.

If landing in Miami is what is best for Ray Allen, it’s hard to fault him for that; however hard a pill it is to swallow.

Follow Matthew Geagan on Twitter @MattyGWBZ

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