The Miami Heat's triumph over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals was cause for great celebration from every member of the organization. Yet, as befits a league where players and coaches seek any competitive edge possible, the afterglow of the Heat's second-consecutive soon gave way to discussions of how they would return next season to seek a third ring. A completed goal gives way to a new challenge almost immediately.
With Miami improving this season in large part due to their cavalcade of shooters off the bench, the team's various decision-makers will presumably do everything possible to bring back the key members of the rotation. For longtime Heat forward Udonis Haslem, that process apparently involved convincing Ray Allen not to opt out of his contract right after Game 7. From Michael Wallace for ESPN.com:
Allen, the most prolific 3-point shooter in NBA history, could opt out of the second year of his two-year contract by this weekend and test free agency next month. [...]
"I put the bug in his ear in the shower after the game," Heat forward and co-captain Udonis Haslem said Monday, referring to a conversation he had with Allen after Game 7 on Thursday. "I told him, 'I'm not going to put no pressure on you. I'm not going to ask you what you're going to do. But just know that I'm thinking about what you're going to do.'"
Haslem said Allen didn't offer a response as the Heat celebrated their second consecutive championship.
"I don't know if that's good or bad," Haslem said.
I'm going to go ahead and assume that Allen didn't offer a response because he was showering, not because he's absolutely leaving Miami. You know, because the face-wash step of cleansing yourself is typically not when most people like to discuss long-term professional plans.
An NBA shower is different than that of a non-athlete human, of course — Haslem's decision has little in common with, say, my roommate barging into the bathroom as I move from "rinse" to "repeat" to ask me about our cable bill. On the other hand, this was maybe too bold a move. The shower is a vulnerable setting regardless of the occupational standards, the kind of place where a hard sell or ill-timed argument might not go over well. That is especially true when the conversation takes place at a celebratory moment such as this one. Clean up the sweat and champagne, get dressed to go clubbing, and leave the considerations of the future for tomorrow.
It's unlikely that these tactics will have a major effect on Allen's free-agency decision, but there are still standards of decorum. Next time, maybe Haslem should be a little more tactful. Sing the praises of the water pressure or the fine soaps supplied to the Heat. I bet Ray never got those in Boston!
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