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Celtics wait as Allen makes splash on South Beach

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  July 5, 2012 07:31 PM

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Ray Allen Heat.jpgThey're hot for Ray Allen in South Beach.

LeBron James posted the above photo on his Facebook page the other day with the quote "This looks damn good to me."

Dwayne Wade tweeted this on the eve of Allen's visit to South Florida, which was extended over night and continued into Friday.

Looking for love in all the wrong places. Johnny Lee sang that while John Travolta wooed Debra Winger in "Urban Cowboy." (Yes, I'm old.) Celtics fans know Allen is doing the same thing flirting with D-Wade and LeBron in Miami. But it's hard to blame him.

There's nothing but love for Ray in South Beach. Literally. The Celtics have offered Allen twice the max amount the Heat have available - which is $6.2 million. The most the Heat can offer Allen is the taxpayer mid-level exception ($3.1 million). Well, that and a legitimate shot at another NBA title before he retires. Love and another ring - or money - that's Allen's choice. And if he was in it for the just the money, he would have signaled to the Celtics he was staying.

"We want Ray back in the worst way," Danny Ainge told the Globe this week. "I think Ray knows we're interested in him. I don't know, but he very well could [have suitors]. But we really want Ray back."

Way to woo him, Danny. But that's the real problem - the Celtics got the injured Allen in the worst way during the playoffs this year. He averaged just 10.7 points and shot 30.4 percent from 3-point range in 18 games, compared to 14 points and 45.2 percent in the regular season. The Celtics got old fast, aging about 30 years in their final 72 hours. The Heat went from "good job, good effort" to the start of the LeBron redemption tour - which will continue until the Oklahoma City Thunder win their first NBA crown in a year or two, or the Lakers trade for Dwight Howard.

So what have the Celtics done to deal with their age issue? Get older. Their first order of business was to sign 36-year-old Kevin Garnett to a three-year contract extension that will keep him in Celtic green until age 40. Boston's latest acquisition comes in the form of Jason Terry - who fits right in with Boston's Senior Leaguers at age 34. Terry is now the answer this NBA trivia question: "Name the other guard the Mavericks lost out on the day Deron Williams decided to sign with the Nets?" Terry won his ring with the Mavericks IN 2011 and averaged 15.1 points this past season over 31.7 minutes. Terry is the No. 4 all-time NBA three-point shooting leader (with 1,788 behind Jason Kidd of the Knicks, Reggie Miller and LeBron's new BFF) and shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range for Dallas this year, primarily coming off the bench as the Sixth Man.

The Celtics can't sign Terry until next Wednesday. The three-year deal reportedly begins at $5 million per season. So if the Celtics can fend off LeBron's hugs and kisses, Boston will have the No. 1 and No. 4 all-time three-point shooters in the history of the NBA coming off the bench to back up Avery Bradley.

Is that too much at one position? Before you say "Yes," remember all that talk last spring about all those starting pitchers Bobby Valentine had to juggle in the Red Sox rotation. You can never have enough pitching any you can never have enough offense - especially when you're the Celtics with Rajon Rondo as your point guard.

The Celtics can't expect more from Terry than he gave the Mavericks - a reliable shooter who can play just enough defense and generate more than enough offense. That championship ring wouldn't hurt, either. The Celtics have struggled to find a viable offensive threat beyond the Big Three - both in the starting lineup and off the bench. Terry's shot can't hurt when it comes to making space for Garnett, Paul Pierce and, dare we say it, Rondo. With Brandon Bass back and the Celtics willing to way overpay Jeff Green (he must have the negatives on Danny), Boston's core is set for next season.

Good or bad, the return of Garnett was the team's only realistic big-picture option, especially with the impossibility of moving the aged Pierce and his $16.9 million salary. Unfortunately, Howard didn't demand a trade to Boston and new Magic GM Rob Hennigan wasn't about to help out his hometown team with a Kevin McHale-like discount.

With Garnett back in the fold, the Celtics were left to tinker around the edges, which is exactly where Terry, Bass, Green and, yes, Allen fit best.

It's a bit breathtaking at how fast Allen has become marginalized in all this. His lack of production (injury related or not) in the playoffs left the Celtics without that go-to weapon that could have stopped one or two of those big Miami runs in Game 6 or 7. Allen's routine is so refined, his game so precise, that one minor injury or ailment throws everything completely off. Allen is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and was essential to Boston's title in 2008 and its run to Game 7 against the Lakers in 2010.

Allen was a pillar of the Big Three and a leg of the Core Four. With Bradley starting and Terry waiting to spot him off the bench, the impact of Allen's return or departure will cause but a mere ripple either way in Boston. Whatever psychological boost the Heat gain by adding a veteran of Allen's stature will far outweigh the on-the-court impact of his departure in Boston.

Making it hurt just that much more.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker.

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