MIAMI- If you thought the Boston-Miami playoff battle was heated last year, buckle your seat belts , because Ray Allen just made it a little more interesting for both Miami Heat and Boston Celtics fans.
After playing five seasons with the Celtics, which included an NBA championship in 2008, Allen decided to part ways with his buddies Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce to join the hated rival Heat with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh looking to win his second NBA championship.
It was Allen and the Celtics, who formed in 2007, that brought the idea upon James, Wade, and Bosh to come together to stop the Celtics two seasons ago. Two seasons later, the Heat have successfully done so while taking a piece away from the Celtics.
Many can say that Allen betrayed Boston when joining the rival Heat this off-season, but signs from last season pointed to Allen leaving Boston all along.
After starting four seasons for the Celtics, Allen due to injuries last season, was benched for younger and more athletic guard Avery Bradley. On top of that at mid-season, Allen was brought up in multiple trade rumors for the Celtics, as the Celtics looked old and ready to move on from the “Big Three” era.
Add in the fact that Allen, and starting point guard Rajon Rondo had issues on and off the court reportedly, Allen saw a fresh start somewhere else was his best option as he declined a richer offer to stay with the Celtics to join the Heat.
Allen, signed the mid-level exception with the Heat which will pay the NBA’s all-time leading three point shooter, up to $9.5 million over three years, which left a bad taste in Celtic head coach Doc Rivers mouth.
After the signing, Rivers was very disappointed in Allen’s decision and some point to Allen leaving as the reason that Rivers has put an emphasis on the Celtics “hating” the Heat this season.
Coming off a seven game series, which seen Miami crawl out of a 3-2 hole to advance to the NBA Finals, Allen averaged only 10.7 PPG, on 39% shooting from the field, and just 30% from three-point land in 18 playoff games for the Celtics last season after averaging 14.2 PPG, on 45% shooting from the field and three-point land in the regular season.
Either way it goes, both teams have made changes since the move and are primed for what most see as re-match of the Eastern Conference Finals, unless the Knicks or Pacers have anything to say about it.
Allen, will not start for the Heat, and will come off the bench in a similar role he had in Boston late last season, as a guard who will stretch the court for the Heat while displaying tough hard nose defense. Many players in Miami are excited with the addition of Allen, including Wade, who has come out and said he can’t wait to get to work with the arsenal the Heat will have on display this season with Allen and other acquisitions like Rashard Lewis.
Allen, will bring his NBA leading three point shot to Miami which most see as a positive for a Heat team that lacked shooters coming into last season. If defenses didn’t know how to stop James and co. before, it will only be harder this season with the addition of Allen as another player who will stretch the floor for the Heat making them even harder to stop.
Look for Allen to have a big season this year now that he’s had a whole off-season to get healthy, and now that he’s in a situation where his role is defined and he will be appreciated with one goal on his mind: bringing the NBA championship back to South Beach.