It all started with the almost immediate trade rumors involving Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. And it has continued through the offseason as people start to evaluate all the moves and put early previews of the season together. It's the notion that once Ray Allen's contract ends, so will his tenure in Boston.
But will it really?
What are the reasons for NOT re-signing Ray Allen next year? Age? Performance? Money?
Ray just turned 34 on July 20th. But he takes immaculate care of his body. He proved last year that his ankle issues are no longer a problem, so he's minimized whatever "breakdown" comes with getting older. If there was ever a guy in his 30's that you could count on to play without missing time, it's Ray Allen.
His performance shows he can still get the job done. He put up 23 points a game against the Bulls in the first round… showing that when you have anything short of a good defender on him, he can still torch you. Yeah, he has a few more lapses than he used to, but he's still capable of carrying the scoring load. There's no reason to think he won't still be able to score a year from now.
And the money won't be an issue either, provided both sides have a similar opinion on what Ray's really worth. But since this will be Ray's third year with the team, the Celtics will have his Bird rights at the end of the season. So his $19 million will come off the books, but they can sign him without cap ramifications next year. Of course, that leaves Ray as a prime candidate for a sign-and-trade… but that's a different piece for a different time. For now, I'll say $7 or $8 million for a guy who can play 25-30 minutes and get you 15-18 points and be a leader on the floor is about right. I think a year from now, that's a legitimate expectation.
The bottom line here is that just because Ray's contract is up at the end of the year, doesn't mean his time in Boston is too. He'll still be in great shape, he'll still be able to shoot the ball, and there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to a future contract. He's not "Ray Allen" anymore… but he's not that far off, either. And he's nowhere near the end of the road.
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