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BOSTON (CBS) – Ray Allen is officially a member of the Miami Heat.
With a big smile, Allen held up his new Miami jersey — sporting his old number 34 — with Pat Riley and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to his side.
Spoelstra sees Allen’s addition as a seamless fit. Riley is hoping Allen’s No. 34 will be hanging in the Miami rafters some day. Allen is just hoping to make some noise on his new team.
Allen will be roaming the perimeter for Miami for the next three seasons, in a reserve role he was not all that happy with last season in Boston.
“You mean I’m not starting? I wish they would have told me that last week,” Allen said jokingly.
“This team won a championship without me,” he said. “I have to make it work on the floor with my teammates. Whether you start or come off the bench, the best compliment is who you finish the game with.”
Despite the fact he will be turning 37 before the season begins, has 16 NBA seasons under his belt, and is just coming off ankle surgery, the Heat see big things for Allen over the next three seasons.
“A big role. We keep talking about the versatility; we want to get to a point where we are position-less,” said Spoelstra. “He fits very well with who we already have here and is a great complement to the champions we already have here.”
Allen joins Miami after spending the last five seasons with the Boston Celtics. He chose the defending champs in hopes of adding another ring to his Hall of Fame resume. But he wouldn’t say Miami has a better chance of holding up the Larry O’Brien Trophy than Boston does next season.
“It’s hard to just come into a season and say a team has a better chance, or a team is a lock to win a championship. Work still has to be put in,” he said. “Boston has a great chance too, they made some great commitments this past week. I looked at the situation and thought about what would be best for my kids and my wife, me personally. Being able to go out there and help this team win with the talent I have.”
Along with Kevin Garnett, Allen joined the Celtics prior to the 2007-08 NBA season, forming “The New Big 3″ along with Paul Pierce. The trio dominated the NBA that season, posting a 66-16 record in the regular season before beating the Hawks, Cavaliers, and Pistons to reach the NBA Finals. There, the Celtics handled the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to capture the franchise’s 17th NBA title.
But Allen had some trying times over the last two seasons. He played through constant trade rumors, and injuries plagued him for most of the second half of last season. He was eventually relegated to the bench to make way for the healthier (and younger) second-year guard Avery Bradley.
There have also been reports of a rift with point guard Rajon Rondo, but Allen did not speak much of that when asked on Wednesday.
“I haven’t spoken with him at all,” he said of Rondo. “I know when I came down here I texted Paul and Kevin. Those are the guys I talked quite a bit with over the years and we share a lot of similar philosophies. Those are the guys when we came into Boston together, a lot was put on our shoulders.
Ray Allen On Rondo, Celtics:
“I look back at all our times spent in Boston; we had a lot of disappointments, but we shared a lot of thrills,” he said. “A lot of that is off the court. It is sad to me knowing I’m not going to be with those guys anymore, but I’m looking forward to what we can do here with this organization.”
Allen said he made up his mind last Friday, but had let Garnett know he was leaning toward the Heat in the days before. KG, along with Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers, were all hoping it wouldn’t come to this.
“They were disappointed. They really wanted me to come back,” said Allen. “We won a lot together in five years. In basketball, a lot of time is spent. I think it’s good for them that I’m not around because they don’t have to keep paying me on the golf course.”
And although Allen will now be wearing the jersey of Boston’s biggest rival in the East, he won’t forget his time in green.
“They’re still friends of mine, forever,” he said.