I was going to save this for later in the offseason, but it came up on the comments yesterday, so we might as well continue this discussion now.
The Boston Celtics have an interesting decision to make with Ray Allen. The can either
- Trade him and his huge expiring contract mid-season.
- Let him go at the end of the season and take the cap space.
- Try to re-sign him after this season at current market value.
You can make a decent argument for each option. In reverse order:
Re-signing Ray: Ray had a great year this year, and he keeps himself in tremendous shape. But he's no longer a max-contract guy, and he'll be even less of one at the end of next season. He's going to be 35 after his contract is up, so who knows how much he has left.
So if Ray is willing to accept a deal in the mid-level range, then he might be a nice shooting option for a couple of years.
Letting Ray Go: The biggest problem the Celtics have right now is cap space. That's why we had Mikki Moore on this team this year and not, well, anyone else. And the whole point of trading for max-contract guys in the final year of a deal is to watch that money walk away. The C's already have one. (In fact, they have one each of the next 3 years).
Letting Ray walk after next season lets the Celtics take full advantage of the Big 3's 3-year window… and then gives the Celtics a little wiggle room to start planning the next era.
Trading Ray: This is the least likely scenario, since there's no way in hell the C's are trading Ray if they're a top seed in the East at the trading deadline. But if they're not… if something has happened and they're middle of the road (or worse), then trading Ray becomes an option. They have an opportunity to maybe pick up a combination of young players and/or draft picks in exchange for a rarity in the expiring-deal scenario: a guy who can actually play.
So if the C's are in trouble and the best option is trying to start the next phase, then maybe a Western Conference contender would be willing to give up some young guys to make one last push at a title.
It's VERY early to really get into this, but these will be the decisions the Celtics face next year. So much of what they do depends on any number of factors. The C's have decisions to make on Glen Davis and even Rajon Rondo's extension this offseason that will impact what they do down the road with Ray.