The resume Ray Allen has built up is impressive to say the least: ten-time All-Star, two-time NBA Champion, the NBA’s leader in all-time three point field goals made and future Hall-of-Famer. At 39 years old, Allen is garnering attention from the elite teams in this league, in hopes that he will be the player that can be the difference in a championship run.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, numerous teams have been keeping contact with Allen like the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, and Atlanta Hawks.
Allen, the dead-eye shooter, can still make a difference. He has been out of action but has been staying in shape in the event he does sign with a team. Last season, Allen averaged 9.6 points in 26.5 minutes per game, an increase in minutes from the previous season. He did shoot poorly from the three-point line in his standards but was still very effective shooting it at a rate of 37.5%.
All Star Weekend will not be a time of relaxation for those in the running of Allen. Cleveland has become an interesting team in the race, as they have essentially won themselves back into the Ray Allen Sweepstakes. Remember, Allen was teammates with LeBron James, Mike Miller, and James Jones back in Miami. There would be a level of comfort that will be there if Allen were to sign.
Would Cleveland have enough time to hand to Allen?
Allen has made it clear that if he were to return, he would want guaranteed minutes in late-game situations. Cleveland has gone to more of a seven to nine man rotation depending on the night. Minutes get spread around to the deep parts of the bench but not as consistent as some would like it. Also, Would Allen be able to fit in the guard rotation now that Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith are there as well?
Atlanta and Golden State are interesting players as they are the leaders of their respective conferences and Allen is looking to play for a true contender. Atlanta recently shipped Adreian Payne to Minnesota in exchange for a lottery-protected 1st-round pick. This move is of interest because the trade now clears up a roster spot for Atlanta, opening the door for an Allen signing. Allen should have no problem fitting in as Atlanta moves the ball extremely well as they are 2nd in the league in assists. The pairing of Korver and Allen would also give defenses fits being put in a pick-your-poison situation.
Allen to Golden State might be the most interesting thought. Already blessed with an abundance of three-point shooters, Golden State getting a hold of Allen would put the rest of the NBA on high alert. Allen, who would most likely come off the bench, would be paired with Andre Iguodala and David Lee as bench mates, a trio that can easily start on some NBA teams. However, the biggest winners would be Warriors fans because then they would be refer to Ray Allen as “The Splashfather.”
Los Angeles is players because of Ray Allen’s relationship with Doc Rivers, but their roster has taken plenty of hits, with Blake Griffin becoming the latest Clipper to be sidelined, perhaps derailing Los Angeles’ chances of signing Allen. Miami might not really have a chance based on their record, although Allen has won a championship there.
Would Allen sign with the dark-horse Wizards? He would have to take minutes from someone, as Washington runs a nine-man rotation, similar to Cleveland.
Already flying under the radar, the San Antonio Spurs could be an interesting fit. Under Gregg Popovich, San Antonio players’ playing time varies night-to-night but would the championship potential in the playoffs be the overwhelming factor? Allen’s IQ would make it an easy transition as well.
Allen has not ruled out retirement as an option. He’s become content to test the waters and see what situation would be the best for him.
So where will he end up?
Although I would love to see Ray Allen be dubbed “The Splashfather,” the best fit would be Atlanta. Already playing team basketball and balanced minutes, Allen should have no issue with playing time. Antic might be the victim of this signing, as he hasn’t played up to the same level he had from last season, dropping in nearly every statistical category. Atlanta is also in the Eastern Conference too, making it easier to reach the NBA Finals compared to the Wild Wild West.
By trading away Payne, they also freed up some salary to use in order to sign Allen; Payne carried a guarantee contract. In the event money does become an issue, Atlanta might be able to shell out more money than other teams. That would just make it a foregone conclusion if the best team in the NBA can also offer the most money.
Allen has NBA front offices in the palm of his hands, it’s just time to make a decision.