Almost three years ago the Los Angeles Clippers were deciding between adding Jamal Crawford and veteran sharp-shooter Ray Allen. Allen and his agent were on a plane headed to Los Angeles to listen to the Clippers’ pitch when former head coach Vinny Del Negro informed Allen that Crawford would be signed.Fast forward, and once again the Clippers have their sights set on Allen.
It seems as if it’s veteran free agent Ray Allen’s turn to take part in this summer’s NBA free agency drama. Although the Clippers made no major push for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love (who’s yet to be traded), there seems to be interest in Allen, who has yet to decide where he’ll play — or if he’ll suit up for another season at all.
The most popular rumor had Allen joining James with the Cleveland Cavaliers; however, Allen told the Boston Herald he’s still weighing his options. For now it seems there’s no clear favorite for his services, however uniting with his former Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles could be a possibility.
Allen explained to the Herald, “A lot have called; Doc called earlier in the summer. A lot of teams want to be able to get me at the veteran’s minimum. I still have an ego, too. I still have a service to provide, and teams still have to pay me what I feel my presence is worth. I have to take that into consideration, if it’s worth putting my body through what it will take over 82 games.”
His eyes are set on a larger piece of a team’s salary cap pie, however the veteran’s minimum is more than likely in Allen’s future. He’s an 18-year veteran, 39 years of age, and despite staying in impeccable shape Allen’s game has shown signs of wear in his last few seasons.
In his last two seasons with the Miami Heat, Allen poured in 1,564 points combined, shooting 39.8 percent, his lowest percentage since his five seasons spent with the Seattle SuperSonics. His 701 points last year with the Heat was his second lowest points total since his last season with Rivers in a Celtics uniform.
Allen can still contribute, and the Clippers would benefit with him on the wing. Despite declining athleticism and an inability to break defenders down on the dribble, Allen is still one of the best shooters on-the-catch and one of the best at running off screens. Adding another player that can stretch the floor and allow more room for power-forward Blake Griffin to operate down low is vital for the Clippers success.
Ray Allen appeared in 73 games last season posting a career-low in points as well (9.6). He took home $3.2 million in the last season of a two-year deal with the Heat. He’d thrive in an offense where Chris Paul and Griffin are constantly double teamed nightly, creating open shots for Allen. There’s no clear favorite team for Allen at this point, and there’s another rumor which states he could wait until mid-season to sign with a contender. While there are no official plans to meet, Doc Rivers will continue to make pitches of a reunion to Allen however he can.