Why Ray Allen must sign with NBA defending champions San Antonio Spurs
Almost every player who entered the summer in the list of the top 20 free agents in the NBA market is either not valuable anymore or is officially signed by a team expect Future Hall of Famer who currently holds the record for most three point field goals made in the history of the league-Ray Allen.
Mind you, even amongst the people keeping a track of the off-season player movement in the NBA, no one predicted Allen becoming the hot property that he has currently become. After a disastrous NBA finals series both for his team and himself, Allen mentioned that he was considering retirment but was not sure on his decision yet.
Two months after the free agency began Allen is now the most wanted free agent in the league, with close to five teams showing interest in signing the two-times NBA champion. In increasing order of interest, here are the five franchises whose names have been mentioned so far- Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Although the Mavericks have been among the teams interested, they stand no real chance in landing Allen especially with the competitiors they are up against. The Heat have two years of a successful and fruitful partnership to attract him and the Clippers have their head coach Doc Rivers who shared 6 years with him for the Boston Celtics to use as a magnet.
In his return home to Cleveland, LeBron James has been successful in attracting two of his former Heat teammates in James Jones and Mike Miller. Many many Ohio state natives hope that he can also talk Allen into signing with the franchise as well. Despite the pros and cons that every team has, Allen signing with coach Gregg Popovich’s Spurs stands to help both parties substantially from a business and basketball point of view.
Reasons why Allen should sign with San Antonio Spurs
Spurs can offer him what no other franchise can.
The league has seen many successful on-court partenerships take the turn for the worse due to trouble between front office and player off the court. Sometimes it is due to contracts or money in the contract or trade requests and so on. Here is where the Spurs biggest advantage over the rest of the teams arises.
The rest of the teams interested in Allen have all run out of cap space and can only offer him a veteran’s minimum contract which would give the sharpshooter 1.4 million dollars for the single season. On the flip side the Spurs still have 5.3 million dollars of non-taxable mid-level exception remaining in their cap room which allows them to offer Allen as much as he wants from the mid level exception.
‘Fits the ‘system’
An inspection and study of the Spurs style of play especially in the Finals will reveal that it is nothing but every player acting as a ball handler, penetrating into the defense and looking for the extra pass or throwing up shots confidently when given the space to. That’s it, that’s all that the Spurs did to humble the Heat in 5 games during the Finals.
Allen is a reputed long range shooter and he is someone who will not back down from a chance to launch the orange. He is also a highly under-rated player when it comes to drives to the basket and making the extra pass or dropping a floater. These basic aspects have been the bread and butter of Allen’s play throughout his career.
From a purely basketball standpoint, the playing styles of the Spurs and Allen point towards a perfect match.
While a majority of teams (almost all) depend on certain players to pull them through the clutch, Spurs on the other hand redefine team work. Popovich and his coaching staff had done such a good job of keeping their squad fit for the post-season that they had the best record during the 82-game season without even a single player on their roster averaging more than 30 minutes a game.
In addition Popovich does makes it a point during the regular season to keep his core rotation of players fit for the playoffs, which means the stress levels for 39 year old Allen will be something his body can cope with.
Although there is the third point guard Corey Joseph, Popovich could certainly use an extra shooting guard who can put the ball on the floor with highly productive secondary point guard Patty Mills missing the first four months of the season.
The chance to end his career on a high
The career that he has had, there are high chances of Allen being a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee. However, the drive from within that has kept him going for 18 seasons would not want his career to end with the way the previous season ending.
As a veteran, Allen is not desperate for a title having already won 2 championships (Celtics in 2008 and Heat in 2013), but the desire to leave the game on a high would surely tempt him to another year of proffesional basketball in the world’s top league.
Signing with the San Antonio would take the veterans count in the team to four but rather than hampering their chaces to repeat it only makes their chances more realistic. Whether or not Spurs sign Allen, they are still the team many would put their money on to win a second consecutive NBA title.Published 05 Sep 2014, 18:36 IST