LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers want him. Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers want him. Gregg Popovich and the champion San Antonio Spurs want him.
And Ray Allen isn’t even sure he wants to play another season.
Now you can throw one more name in the hat of interested parties — the Washington Wizards. Don’t laugh, they’re serious. They have contacted Allen, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
The Wizards would prefer to keep their 15th and final roster open but they’d quickly change gears for Ray Allen. The team contacted the 39-year-old shooting guard early in the free agent process to gauge his interest in signing, CSNwashington.com has confirmed with two people with knowledge of the situation Tuesday.
Allen, while his overall game is slipping, still played more than 20 minutes a night for the Heat last season, averaged 9.6 points a game and is still deadly with the corner three. He’s still in good enough shape to play (he’s a conditioning freak).
Allen could fit in Washington, coming off the bench behind Bradley Beal and stealing minutes from Glenn Rice Jr. (and Martell Webster).
Nice try by the Wizards, but this is normally where I would make a joke about how “I put in a call to Reese Witherspoon about our date… it has the same odds of success.” But not today. I’m going to rise above that kind of snark. Almost.
If Allen is going to play for the league minimum — and that’s a big “if” that he would put himself through the grind of the season for that — he’s going to do it for a contender. The Wizards may be the third best team in the East (it’s arguable), but they are not title contenders. Ray Allen isn’t leaving warm weather Miami for our nation’s capital.
Sorry Wizards fans. I’d just suggest you keep dreaming of Kevin Durant in 2016.
Ray Allen has options.
LeBron James has tried to recruit him to Cleveland. Doc Rivers has tried to recruit him to the Clippers. The Spurs are interested.
But at age 39 Ray Allen may choose to sound like the “WarGames” computer — “the only winning move is not to play.”
What Allen is not going to do is rush this decision. If you need more proof beyond the fact he has resisted all those people trying to recruit him and hasn’t made a decision by Sept. 1, Allen said again recently he was going to take his time with this, speaking to Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant.
“I’m not in any rush [to make a decision],” Allen said during a break in the Citi Ray Allen Basketball ProCamp at East Granby High on Saturday morning. “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes….
“To continue playing, really, the only argument is I can because I’m in great shape,” Allen said. “But just because you can doesn’t mean you have to. Many people over these last couple of weeks have lobbied for me to continue to play. … My argument for not playing is, I have done a significant amount in my career and I appreciate everything that has come my way and as I’ve gotten older, I’m 39, there are so many things in life I want to be able to do to affect change — like being around kids full time, which I enjoy.
“So at this point I just feel so good about where I am.”
If LeBron had stayed in Miami — where Allen and his family live — this would be a done decision and he’s be back with the Heat. But that’s not how it went down and the Heat, while they will be pretty good, are not contenders. Does Allen want to play in another (not as warm) city for the league minimum salary for one more season to chase another ring? Or are the two he has, plus 10 All-Star appearances and twice making the All-NBA team, enough?
Allen may be turning 39 and his game is slipping, but he remains one of the great shooters of all time and a guy who can come off the bench and space the floor with the corner three. A lot of teams could use him. He has options.
But he may choose “none of the above.”
Doc Rivers is rounding out his Clippers roster. He’s bringing back Hedo Turkoglu to have a little size and shooting (44 percent from three with the team last year), plus Chris Paul said the Clippers need consistency to take the next step and a veteran like Turkoglu helps provide that.
The Clips also would like to land Ray Allen, but he has options… if he even wants to play next season.
Now comes word they also may bring back Chris Douglas-Roberts.
From Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.
The team is also close to an agreement with free-agent Chris Douglas-Roberts.
Douglas-Roberts, a 6-foot-7 wing player, spent last season with Charlotte, averaging 6.9 points in 49 games. In four playoff games against Miami, Douglas-Roberts averaged 9.5 points in 17.5 minutes per game. Douglas-Roberts would make $1.06 million on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
On a minimum deal for wing depth, this would be a solid get. Douglas-Roberts came into the NBA in desperate need of a jump shot but last season in Charlotte more than half his shots came from three and he hit a good 38 percent of them (he shot well from the corners).
Douglas-Roberts got a fair amount of run the second half of the season in Charlotte when injuries (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Taylor) forced him into the rotation — and CDR was solid. His effort and threes made him a fan favorite. He also defends well, which every team could use, certainly the Clippers.
The Clippers will start Matt Barnes at the three but need some bodies there, someone to get minutes besides Reggie Bullock. CDR would be a quality addition, especially at the minimum.
Ray Allen was very comfortable and happy in Miami — he was playing on a contender in a warm-weather city with lots of great golf where his family was comfortable, and he was making more than the league minimum.
Then this summer happened.
Now Allen’s option involve making the league minimum and contending in cold-winter Cleveland, or maybe joining old coach Doc Rivers in warm-weather Los Angeles on a team already loaded at the two-guard spot (J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, plus you can play Reggie Bullock there or the three) in a deep Western Conference that will be hard to escape just to get to the Finals. Dallas has tried to get in the mix but are they really contenders?
Now throw San Antonio in the mix, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
On the court Allen could certainly fit in with the Spurs, and it’s not a cold city. But the offer will likely be for the minimum. And again, the West is loaded. Certainly the Spurs have set the bar in that conference but there are teams close to clearing it.
Nothing seems a good fit and retirement remains on the table, something reinforced by Stein and Alex Kennedy at BasketballInsiders.
Allen has to decide if he wants to put his body through the NBA regular season grind again to chase another ring. He’s not doing it for the money. Does he want to be away from his family that much? Has he reached the point in his life where that trade off is not worth it? What does he want to do post NBA?
Allen doesn’t have to make his decision yet, he’s got until training camps open and beyond. He can let things play out and join a team mid-season should he want. There is no pressure on him, save what old teammates and coaches try to apply.
This could play out for a while longer.
Ray Allen may or may not choose to play next season.
Retirement is a very real option; after Allen won championships in 2008 with the Celtics and again in 2013 with the Heat (while hitting one of the most incredible shots in Finals history along the way), there isn’t much left to accomplish that would enhance his Hall of Fame resume in what would be his 19th NBA season.
But there is that competitive itch. And while it may be a while before Allen decides whether or not to return, he’ll have at least two teams patiently waiting that will attempt to retain his services.
From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:
The Clippers have 11 players under contract, two under the league minimum. They will be bringing in veterans for workouts.
Doc Rivers had been in contact with Ray Allen earlier this summer. Expect the Clippers to make a run at him again.
In addition to the Clippers, of course, Allen has been linked to the Cavaliers, where he could join three of his former Heat teammates, including LeBron James.
L.A. traded Jared Dudley for two players that they waived using the stretch provision, which gave the team additional roster flexibility and some space under the cap to add players on minimum salary deals.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the bond with Rivers or the one with James is stronger if Allen chooses to come back next season.