Ray Allen isn’t Jesus Shuttlesworth on the court anymore (although he always will be in my heart), the young prospect full of promise. He isn’t the elite, All-Star Ray Allen of Seattle anymore. He’s a role player off the bench. He played 26 minutes a game off the bench in the regular season and playoffs, shot 37.5 percent from three in the season, 38 percent in the playoffs. He’s smart and solid still.
However his skills are clearly declining at age 38.
After briefly considering retirement following the Miami Heat’s loss in the NBA Finals, Ray Allen is leaning toward returning for a 19th season in the NBA, according to sources.
Allen has a desire to continue playing alongside LeBron James, whom he developed a close relationship with during their two seasons together in Miami, whether it is with the Heat or another team. James and Allen vacationed together last week after the Heat were beaten in the NBA Finals by the San Antonio Spurs.
Meaning Allen only wants to come back if he can contend. Can’t blame him there.
Allen is one of the best conditioned, most meticulous athletes in the game. Nobody wins the race with father time, but Allen can hold out longer than most. In a limited role off the bench he still has some value.
The question is money. Allen made $3.2 million last season, if he wants to make that or more I’m hesitant. But if I’m the team wherever LeBron lands at the end of this summer, and I can get Wade for a veteran minimum contract (or very close to it), I’d pull the trigger. Allen is great in the locker room and can still knock down the corner three nightly.
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.