I still haven't gotten used to the idea of Ray Allen being on the Miami Heat, but that isn't surprising because I still do a double-take when I see Peyton Manning wearing a Denver Broncos jersey. The Heat's rivalry with the Boston Celtics that has developed over the past two years seems genuine. During their Eastern Conference Finals series this past summer the dislike between the teams was evident as Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett all ganged up on LeBron James until he took over Games 6 and 7. When the two teams square off on October 30 in the NBA season opener, it will be must-see TV.
The recent revelation that his former teammate Kevin Garnett hasn't spoken with him since his decision to leave Boston for the warm confines of South Beach was not surprising considering Garnett's old school mentality.
The Celtics had been shopping Allen for a year or two, and their continued reticence at re-signing him this offseason only reinforced to Allen how heartless of a business he is in, with no loyalty shown to players, even ones of his stature.
They were going to bench Allen in favor of Avery Bradley, especially considering how he was coming off career lows in points and minutes per game. His shooting averages were as good as always (46-45-91), so he doesn't seem to have lost his touch and will still be a potent scoring threat whenever he is on the court.
Even though the Celtics offered him twice as much money as the Heat did, Allen split town for a two year, six million dollar deal because he would have a chance at more playing time with fewer demands on his aging body. He can come off the bench and shoot wide open 3s while Wade and LeBron push the ball in transition. Joining Miami would also probably give him a better shot at a second championship than he would have with the aging yet newer-look Celtics. Garnett came close to retirement at the end of last season, Paul Pierce is another year older, and Avery Bradley has never been asked to contribute significantly to a contender for an entire season.
This was a great pick-up for Miami. The Heat have made a habit of getting old veterans at a discount. The odds that Allen can contribute are better than Juwon Howard and Mike Miller. The Finals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder crystallized how important 3 point shooting was to the Heat's success. The addition of Ray Allen will prove to be more reliable than Mike Miller or James Jones from beyond the arc.
Philip is a lifelong NBA fan and has followed the Miami Heat closely since The Decision.
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