Ray Allen’s free agency options seem to have just narrowed.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Los Angeles Clippers have canceled their Friday meeting with Allen after reaching agreements with free-agent guards Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups.
Allen is meeting Thursday with the Miami Heat in Florida, and the options widely regarded as his best are now re-signing with the Boston Celtics or accepting the Heat’s offer. Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been aggressively recruiting Allen to join them in recent weeks.
The Celtics have offered Allen two years and $12 million, while the most the Heat could offer is three years and $9.5 million. According to a report in the Boston Herald, the Celtics also have dangled the option of a no-trade clause for Allen as part of their offer.
Currently only two players in the league have such clauses, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki, but Allen is eligible because he has more than eight years experience and has played the last four seasons with the Celtics, the two requirements to give such a guarantee under league rules. Allen was known to have been upset at rumors he might be traded by the Celtics at times in the past.
Earlier this week, James tweeted a photo of Allen wearing a Heat uniform. Wednesday, Wade sent out a tweet describing Thursday as a big day for the franchise.
The Celtics have made two recent commitments that might drive Allen elsewhere. One was making Avery Bradley the starter at shooting guard in the later stages of the season and playoffs. The indications are that Bradley will stay in that role next season whether Allen is back or not. Boston also reportedly came to terms with free-agent shooting guard Jason Terry, a player who is very comfortable coming off the bench as a former Sixth Man of the Year.
To offer Allen a starting role, or even late-game minutes as part of their finishing lineup, the Heat would have to make some changes. They could go a number of ways but it would likely either lead to Allen or Wade, the incumbent at shooting guard, playing out of his normal position to start and finish games. It helps, of course, that James can play power forward and Chris Bosh can play center.
Explaining how it would work is assumed to be a central factor in the Heat’s pitch. But they do have Pat Riley to make the sale and his record in such matters is strong.