Ray Allen wants to return to the NBA. As a player. And at least two of the teams he says he’s interested in are teams he used to play for: the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.
Of course, those teams must also be interested in him, making things somewhat more complicated than his latest comments may imply.
Which means, he should probably rule out the Celtics. At least, if I were Danny Ainge, my reaction to Allen’s interest in returning to Boston would be, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
This has nothing to do with the way Allen left town in the summer of 2012. He was part of a Celtics team in 2011-12 that lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. He saw an aging group in Boston and perfectly played the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” card by signing with Miami a month later. He went on to win another championship. But he jumped ship. And that didn’t go over well around here. Nor should it have.
Still, that’s not the reason I’m here today telling you that the Celtics should pass on an Allen reunion. It has absolutely nothing to do with the past. It has all to do with the present.
For starters, Allen is 41-years-old. He hasn’t played in the league since 2013-14. That’s two years of no basketball.
OK, I get it, he’s been in the gym, working hard, getting his shots in, burying threes. He’ll tell you he’s in great shape, and that he feels like he never missed a beat. But even when he last played, his minutes were cut down and he only averaged 9.6 points per game.
I realize who he was surrounded by in Miami. And even though these Celtics aren’t built like those championship Heat teams, they still shouldn’t be looking to give serious minutes to a 41-year-old who hasn’t been in the league for two years.
Some people might ask, “Why not just give it a shot?”
Well, it’s pretty simple. These Celtics are already guard-heavy. Yes, they are looking for shooters, but taking away critical minutes from some of the young kids makes absolutely no sense at all. Not just for their own personal development at the NBA level, but also because the C’s could still be trying to showcase some young talent as they prepare for a potential trade at next year’s trade deadline.
The only way that a Ray Allen return to the Celtics would make sense, would be if it were in the form of an assistant coach. You want to come back to Boston? Sure thing. But you won’t be wearing No. 20. You won’t even be in uniform. You’ll be in a suit, on the bench, coaching up someone like R.J. Hunter. You’ll be able to play with the team, but only in practice.
You could talk me into a scenario where the C’s make a blockbuster trade for an elite scorer, and they have either the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds in the Eastern Conference locked up. Then, if Allen is still looking to jump on a team mid-season, add him to your bench if you can’t pull off another trade to add a shooter who’s still in the league.
But right now, there’s no need for him. There’s no need to force an Allen reunion in Boston. These Celtics should be fine with what they’ve got.
So if he doesn’t want to return to the organization in some type of coaching role, then he should probably look elsewhere.
Because the Celtics should be all set.