11 Feb Where Will Basketball’s Jesus Play?
As NBA fans all over the world eagerly await the NBA All-Star festivities this coming weekend, there are a handful of teams who are also eagerly waiting for the last remaining valuable free agent to finally sign-up for the team of his choice. That free agent is no other than 18 year NBA veteran Ray Allen, a two time NBA champion who is considered to be the greatest three point shooter of All-time. Allen played for the Miami Heat last season, but after his contract expired this past summer, Allen has decided to take some time off before choosing his next and most probably last NBA destination.
Per espn.com on 2.9.15:
After months of considering his options, veteran Ray Allen plans to decide his NBA future after All-Star Weekend, sources told ESPN.com. Allen, 39, still has not decided whether he wants to return for a 19th season but has been keeping in shape and doing on-court work to keep his options open. Additionally, Allen has been in contact with teams to explore his possibilities and may take meetings during the upcoming All-Star break.
With that in mind, let us take a look at the five teams who may have the biggest shot at signing Ray Allen:
Hearing Ray Allen is telling teams "talk to me in January" will make a decision in February. Cavs still the favorite.
— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) December 5, 2014
As reported by the greatlakessports.net on 2.6.15:
The Cavaliers, who are still considered the front-runners for Allen, would seem like the more logical fit with close friend LeBron James and former teammates Mike Miller and James Jones on the team Allen would be more comfortable in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have always been considered as the frontrunners to get the services of Ray Allen. And why not? Three of Allen’s former Miami Heat teammates are on the Cavs’ current roster: LeBron James, James Jones and Mike Miller. Those three former Heat players know exactly how valuable Ray Allen is for a championship contender:
Who doesn’t remember that shot?
King James met with Allen last month during a trip to Miami while Jones and Miller have been on and off in recruiting their former teammate to join the LeBron bandwagon. The Cavaliers have left one roster spot open for the past month because they are confident that Allen will follow the King to Ohio. Allen has always said that he will only return to play for a title contender. The Cavs have started to make their move for playoff positioning with their recently ended 12 game winning run. The race to the playoffs is heating up and the Cavs would want no less than basketball’s Jesus as insurance policy in the playoffs.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) February 7, 2015
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) February 10, 2015
Everybody probably knows the Atlanta Hawks by now. The team which surprised the whole world in the first two months of the season is finally considered a legitimate title contender after their season best 19 game winning streak and their recent win over the league leading Golden State Warriors. Despite not having a marquee superstar on their roster, the Hawks’ selfless brand of basketball has catapulted them to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. But the Hawks have an immediate need for a wingman because of the recent injury to Thabo Sefolosha who will be out for two months with a calf injury. The Hawks’ offensive system is tailor made for Ray Allen as it is a perfect fit for Kyle Korver.
The young Hawks won’t only receive added firepower with a shooter like Ray Allen. They also stand to get the veteran leadership which they don’t have right now. Allen’s championship experience should come in handy for the Hawks, especially in the post season. As stated, the very recent trade of rookie Adreian Payne was a clear sign that the Hawks are clearing up cap space to sign somebody important. That somebody could very well be Ray Allen.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors plan to follow up w/ Ray Allen and his representation. But nothing has changed from the team's perspective. "Nothing imminent."
— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) February 9, 2015
The “follow-up” mentioned refers to the Warriors’ reaching out to Allen late last year, as reported by cbssports.com on 12.12.14:
The Golden State Warriors have reached out to free agent guard Ray Allen, general manager Bob Myers said in a radio interview. Allen is a known target of several other championship contenders.
On the surface, this looks like a perfect marriage: Splash Brothers meet Big Brother. Like Curry, Thompson and Ray Allen, Head Coach Steve Kerr is a disciple of the trifecta. The similarities are everywhere.
But in reality, managing the minutes at the guard spot may be more of a problem than a luxury for Steve Kerr. Aside from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who understandably eat up the minutes at both guard spots, the Warriors have Andre Iguodala, Leandro Barbosa and Shawn Livingston in their regular backcourt rotation. Allen stands to get more minutes with majority of his other suitor teams than here, but if the third championship ring is his priority, Golden State should be his best shot at it. On the part of the Warriors, getting Ray Allen would always be better than Ray Allen going to their rivals.
San Antonio Spurs
— D.Smith (@SKsmith6) August 30, 2014
Like the Heat, the Spurs know firsthand how valuable Ray Allen is during the postseason because it was against the Spurs where Allen hit that memorable corner three pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. They must have had that shot in mind when they decided to pursue Allen in the offseason. And Allen himself said this last summer, via hoopsrumors.com on 8.30.14:
For his part, Allen hasn’t even decided on whether or not he wants to play for another season or to retire. “It will require a perfect storm scenario for me,” said Allen earlier this month. “I’m in great shape, and I’ll continue to be in great shape, but I don’t want to go to a situation where I don’t understand the rhythm of how a coach coaches. He has to be a great coach, a veteran coach.” The Spurs’ Gregg Popovich certainly fits that requirement.
On the court, Pop’s offense should fit Ray Allen like a shoe. The defending champions are a big fan of the corner three which is one of Allen’s bread and butter. Off the court, the Spurs are a high quality organization from the ownership to the coaching staff. Classy veteran players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker should make feel Allen at home in the Wild West. Injuries have limited the Spurs’ success early in the season but everybody’s starting to get healthy now. They may no longer have the number one seeding, but they are just as dangerous as ever especially if Allen becomes a late addition to their line-up.
Cavs obviously want Ray Allen. But league source says the team that's been most aggressive in pursuing Allen is Wizards. Constantly calling.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 22, 2015
The Wizards have been pursuing Allen ever since the offseason, as reported by yahoo.com on 9.20.14:
The Washington Wizards have contacted free agent shooting guard Ray Allen again, according to J. Michael Falgoust of CSN Washington. They chased him earlier in free agency, too, hoping to reunite him with former Boston Celtics teammate Paul Pierce.
If friendship is the second qualification next to being a championship contender, then the Washington Wizards should be the Cleveland Cavaliers’ closest rival because of the presence of Paul Pierce in Washington. Pierce, Allen and Kevin Garnett combined forces in 2008 to give the Boston Celtics’ their first title since the Larry Bird era. Pierce has blended well with Washington’s young core and is currently providing both clutch scoring and veteran leadership to the up and coming Wizards.
Despite having Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce, the Wizards are only 26th in 3-pointers made per game at 6.1. Allen shot 39% from three point distance in 20 playoff games last season while playing for the Heat. Allen’s presence should space the floor and open the lane for John Wall to maneuver and give the likes of Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat more room to operate inside the shaded lane. The Wizards are currently the third seed in the East and are looking to better their 2nd round playoff appearance last season. What better way to solidify their playoff position than adding the best 3-point shooter in the history of the game.
— $UN GOD™ (@SunnyRayDay) August 5, 2014
What will be the next chapter of that picture?
Ray Allen, popularly known for his role as Jesus Shuttlesworth in the Spike Lee movie “He Got Game” is 39 years old. With time running out, he is looking for one last championship ride. His options are plenty but only one team will get to have this messiah on their side. Who will that lucky team be? Only time will tell who gets to the Promised land with this savior.