Heat Top Priority Is Ray Allen

If the Miami Heat have it their way, they’ll have a commitment from Ray Allen within hours of Sunday’s start of free agency. The longer the process plays out, the less it may favor them.

The Heat, according to sources, have made Allen their prime offseason target and will pursue him strongly when free agency opens Sunday at 12:01 a.m. ET.

They intend to offer him their $3 million mini-mid-level exception, a chance to win another title and significant playing time as they continue with the plan to play LeBron James as a power forward in the future. Heat players, including James and Dwyane Wade, have been publicly and privately recruiting Allen over the last month.

“We’ve got five or six guys earmarked (in free agency) so we’ll see how it goes,” Heat president Pat Riley said. “We want to find as much space as we can on the floor for Dwyane, LeBron and for Chris (Bosh) to be able to operate.”

The team would prefer to swoop in and secure his services quickly for several reasons. The Heat cannot win a bidding war for Allen, so they’re hoping the chance to play on a contender will make up for the below market value offer. Also they want to grab Allen before other suitors get their free-agent houses in order.

Source: Brian Windhorst, ESPN.