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Ray Allen has agreed to re-sign with the Celtics, reuniting with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for another run or two at an NBA Title. Allen signed a two-year deal with a player option for the second year, meaning he has the flexibility to opt out of his contract after one year to become an unrestricted free agent.
Ray had been courted by several teams, but while those teams waited to see what LeBron James was going to do (he’ll decide officially on Thursday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN) and thus didn’t spend any extra money so they can keep their cap space clear, Ray decided to return to the Green.
Allen averaged 16.3 points in 80 games last season, his third with the team. He was much maligned during the NBA Finals because of a three-game stretch from Games 3-5 when he went 0-16 from long distance. Fortunately for him, the Celtics went 2-1 in those games. He may be most remembered for his Game 7 performance, when he went 3-14 from the field while the Celtics faded in the fourth quarter and eventually lost.
The Celtics look to be bringing the old guard back for one or two more runs. To be honest, Danny Ainge didn’t have much choice in the matter. While the Celtics were within minutes of winning the 2010 NBA Championship, many called for Ainge to “blow it up.” OK, so what would happen if Ainge let Pierce and Allen go? The Celtics would be stuck with Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, a bunch of pieces that don’t fit without Pierce or Allen, and no cap room to sign anyone significant.
At the very least, Ainge got Allen at a much friendlier dollar amount ($10 million per year) than last year, and it gives the team financial flexibility when Kevin Garnett’s deal expires in two years.