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Posts Tagged ‘Ray Allen’

The Anatomy of a Spectacular Miami Heat Failure

June 15th, 2014 4 comments

The Miami Heat’s bid for basketball immortality – four straight NBA Finals appearances and three straight NBA titles, a feat which has only been accomplished once in league history – has fallen spectacularly short. In the wake of this colossal failure, we’re all left wondering how it all went so wrong so quickly – how our team ended up looking so old, so slow, so flawed, so unable to adapt, so unable to defend.

Is it an organizational philosophy that failed us?

“I don’t think you win championships with young, athletic players that don’t have experience. I think we’ve learned over the years that building with young players is very frustrating.”

That was Pat Riley in June 2011, describing his aversion to developing youthful talent.

It is a philosophy that he has expressed many different times in many different ways over the years. It is a philosophy that has permeated his every decision in preparation for and during the Big Three era. It is a philosophy upon which the Stepien-like decisions to surrender a whopping six future first round draft picks in a period of less than five months from February to July 2010 were predicated. It is a philosophy upon which the decision to constantly fill the roster with post-dated bench-warming veterans was predicated.

It was a philosophy which, initially, didn’t bother us. We were all so captivated by the moment. Riley had a plan. He executed upon it with deadly precision. He got the big things so right that it didn’t matter how he handled the little things. In Riley we trusted.

The winning that followed only validated that ideology.

But, quietly, things weren’t as wonderful as they appeared. In the wake of the signings of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the summer of the 2010, the front office lost sight of its need to build for the future. Everything was always only about the moment.

Some of us couldn’t help but wonder. If your mission is to win as many titles as possible while the Big Three are still in their primes, then wouldn’t you like to have some upside around? Some players who will be getting better with time? Some players who can keep the energy level high when the stars need to rest?

Riley has always had a clear affinity for the seasoned veteran versus the inexperienced rookie. He’d rather have the sure thing than the potential next big thing. But as much as these veterans are low risks to make stupid, rookie-type decisions, none will break free off the dribble in crunch time or make that key defensive stop and then sprint up the floor for a breakaway jam – they’re zero risks to become more athletic, to develop new parts of their games, or to be usable as trade bait should the need arise.  Read more…

What Could a Ray Allen Opt Out Mean for the Heat?

June 27th, 2013 No comments

The following post has been written in response to a column by Ira Winderman, a local beat writer who I enjoy reading and respect very much, in which it was stated that Ray Allen could not earn more from the Heat by opting out of his contract. As I often do all across the cyber universe of NBA basketball, I respectfully informed him that the Heat could in fact offer Allen both a higher starting salary and a longer contract by utilizing his Non-Bird rights if Allen were to first opt out. The revision of his column to reflect the correction has led to widespread speculation that Allen opting out is a forgone conclusion. While I have informed others of the possibility, I have never written about it on this blog because I do not believe it has a realistic chance to happen. I continue to believe that Allen will opt in by the June 29 deadline. The following post describes why. 

The plot keeps growing. And with it, so too the potential outcomes.

As expected, James Jones and Rashard Lewis have exercised their player options that will pay them $1.5 million and $1.4 million for next season, respectively. The Heat has also picked up its $4.0 million team option on Mario Chalmers.

The surprising revelation, however, is the apparent indecision of Ray Allen. Allen holds a $3.2 million player option. The common logic has been that – having hit the most iconic shot of the 2013 playoffs, perhaps the single biggest three-pointer in Miami Heat history, perhaps the single biggest field goal of his life, and, as a result, having won his second NBA title – he was surely rejuvenated and excited to return.

That notion now appears at least somewhat in doubt.  Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags: ,

Decision Time Looming for Four Miami Heat Players

June 22nd, 2013 No comments

The clock is ticking. Within a week, the first decisions for next season need to be made.

By June 29, there will have to be resolution with the four players on the roster with options for the 2013-14 season.

Of those decisions, only one is at the Heat’s discretion, the third and final year on Mario Chalmers’ contract. It is a $4 million team option. It almost assuredly will be picked up, a bargain price for an NBA starting point guard.

Three other options are out of the Heat’s control – player options held by guard Ray Allen and forwards James Jones and Rashard Lewis.

Allen has been silent on the issue of his $3.2 million option. But having hit the most iconic shot of the 2013 playoffs – and perhaps the single biggest field goal in Miami Heat history – resulting in his second NBA title, he is surely rejuvenated and excited to return. Lewis and Jones have each already expressed their excitement in returning with varying levels of certainty.

This is a happy team. It is a back-to-back NBA champion. It is the prohibitive favorite to get a third consecutive. Why would anyone choose to leave?

All four are likely to return.

But, for Lewis and Jones – who are playing at or near the minimum salary – there is a deeper story here. With the Heat in a financial crunch and attempting to keep its core together, the Heat and salary cap guru Andy Elisburg need to get creative. They have a golden opportunity to save as much as $3.1 million next season, and they should pounce. Read more…

Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis Sign with Heat!

July 11th, 2012 2 comments

Since the start of the Big Three era, Pat Riley has scrounged the bottom of the free agent barrel and picked up a slew of uninspiring big men in an attempt to fill a perceived hole in his team’s rotation.

The sad list includes Eddy Curry, Erick Dampier, Jamaal Magloire, Joel Anthony, Mickell Gladness, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Even Udonis Haslem and Juwan Howard have been miscast in the role.

Not one has worked out nearly as well at center as Chris Bosh.

During its championship run, the Heat finally found a definitive solution to its problem at center: don’t play one at all. With Bosh starting at the 5, the Heat plowed through the Thunder en route to its first title of the Big Three era, as the unconventional lineups created mismatches on both ends of the floor.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra calls the approach ‘position-less’ basketball. The idea is to have as many versatile players on the court as possible, each capable of contributing to the offense and defending multiple positions. It’s a system predicated on floor spacing and ball movement. In many ways, the Heat is uniquely positioned to exploit such a strategy – few other teams can get away with playing multiple players out of position because they would get crushed on the boards. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are probably the best rebounders at their positions in the league; this keeps the Heat in the battle.

The Heat believe they have found a permanent formula in their ‘position-less’ basketball scheme. And so today, on the first day free agents are allowed to sign, the Heat avoided the temptation to sign yet another uninspiring center. Instead, the team made official the signings of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis! Read more…

Categories: Commentary Tags: ,

Ray Allen, Celtics agree on two-year deal

July 7th, 2010 No comments

Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics have agreed upon a two-year, $20 million deal, his agent Lon Babby confirmed. The second year of Allen’s deal is a player option.

It was widely hoped that Allen would consider accepting a minimum contract in order to join a Wade-James-Bosh trio in South Florida. At one point, it was speculated that LeBron James had contacted Allen about the possibility of doing just that.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported on June 30:

LeBron James is calling the possible union of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and himself, “Dream Team.”

Those were the words James used when he reached out to another free agent in the past 10 days and pitched the idea of joining them.

He said, “Would you be willing to take less to join Dream Team?” the player, who did not want to be identified, told the Daily News. He said his people were putting it together.

The Miami Herald’s own Jorge Sedano followed it up with:

I’ve come across a source who has told me that free agent player could be Ray Allen. The source tells me that Allen has spoken to James and his preference is to remain with the Celtics, but that’s predicated on Paul Pierce remaining with the team. The money is not a huge factor. Winning more championships is the most important factor.

According to the source, Allen has spoken to James and would consider joining said, “Dream Team.” Along with possibly taking less money if it was the perfect opportunity.

Apparently, it wasn’t the perfect opportunity. Oh well.

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Celtics may look to retain Ray Allen

June 13th, 2010 No comments

The smooth stroke of Ray Allen

Boston had two major contract concerns heading into the 2009-10 season. They moved quickly to take care of Rajon Rondo, locking him into a 5-year, $55 million contract extension. The soon-to-be-35 year old Ray Allen, on the other hand, appeared to be the forgotten man.

There has been a lot of groundwork laid in Boston to get rid of Allen – the Celtics made several public overtures about their desire to get younger and cheaper at the position on the trade market, putting an extra emphasis on the $18.8 million salary he didn’t quite earn this year (his contract also includes a $1.0 million bonus for winning an NBA title).

The 14-year veteran was supposedly interested in heading south to the Miami Heat or, in order to stay near his home in Connecticut, the New York Knicks.

Heat fans couldn’t help but think to about how nice the free agent-to-be would look in red and black. Allen is the best pure shooter in the game today. He has also secured his place in NBA history as one of the game’s all-time best. No other human has ever been able to duplicate the grace with which he shoots the basketball.

What a difference a few months make.

Unable to find a trade partner in February, it would now appear the Celtics are likely to try to retain the 6’5″ guard for one final season. The change in logic is as much dictated by the team’s finances as it is by Allen’s on-court resurgence.

Allen struggled through a difficult regular season in which he shot just 36.3% from beyond the arc, his worst such mark since his junior season in Milwaukee. His Game 2 performance against the Lakers in the NBA Finals would suggest, however, that Allen still remains a viable scoring option. Allen broke his own NBA Finals record with eight three-pointers, en route to 32 key points in his team’s victory in Los Angeles.

Boston’s financial situation may ultimately dictate his fate.

In the season to come, the Celtics have $63.6 million in guaranteed salary to its six-player core of Paul Pierce (player option), Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo. With a salary cap projected at just $56.1 million, allowing Ray Allen to walk would provide the organization no additional flexibility with which to acquire a replacement. The team’s cap space is already used up, and the Mid-Level and Bi-Annual exceptions would be available under either scenario. Read more…