BOSTON, MA - JUNE 03: Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics reacts after he made a basket against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 3, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
So that's what Ainge meant when he said Ray is "our #1 priority."
"We want Ray back, and we're approaching this as the first thing we have to get done," said the Celtics president of basketball operations.
I guess that's the price of loyalty but in this case, it sounds like the Celtics are being a little more loyal to #20 vs. the hometown discount KG gave the team this time yesterday. With Miami offering the full mini mid-level at $3 million a year and Memphis willing to go the full mid-level at $5 million a year, Danny had to go the extra mil and make it a two year deal.
Many Celtic fans are going to think that's a little too much for the soon-to-be 37-year-old. We could be spending that money on a younger player like O.J. Mayo and Nick Young or less on a vet like Jason Terry and Jamaal Crawford. During this time of year, the prospect of pumping fresh blood into the team sounds exciting. Potential is a cure all for a season lost to injuries and bad luck. Hopes and dreams of #18 can be pinned to what we think can happen. However, the value of consistency shouldn't be overlooked and Ray Allen is the picture of consistency at a position marred by inconsistency. Even the best shooting guards in the league can be streaky, but when Ray's healthy, he's a rock. Ray had bone spur surgery just days after losing Game 7 of the conference finals and should be back to form by training camp. Pessimistic C's fans will remember him struggling through the playoffs but if he can get his ankles right, we could see the Ray Allen from the beginning of last season. He was the only vet to come back in great shape and was shooting over 50% from behind the line and scoring over 20 points regularly.
You have to think that KG took a discount so that Danny could offer Ray a little more. Maybe $6 million per year is a little much, but the idea of teammates acting like teammates on and off the court is priceless and like I've been saying all off-season, can you really see Ray Allen in a different uniform? I can't fathom the idea of him flicking those three fingers in earnest celebration after hitting a corner three in crunch time in Miami red in the Garden.