Not sure what else to say at this point regarding Ray Allen not only leaving but going to the Miami Heat. I'm sure the thoughts and emotions will work themselves out in the coming days/weeks/months but for now all I can say is wow.
One way I try to deal with stuff like this is to keep moving forward. Look ahead and deal with the new present reality (that we all knew could be coming but few wanted or even expected). I have to ask the question: What do we do now?
For one thing, let's clear this up right away. The Celtics cannot go out and use the $6M that we were offering Ray and offer it to another team's free agent. We only had that ability because Ray was our own free agent and we had his Bird rights. Also, in order to give Jason Terry the full mid level, we'll have to spend up to the salary cap with our own free agents. That's good news for Greg Stiemsma, Mickael Pietrus and perhaps even Chris Wilcox.
So what else does this mean for the Celtics?
This may also open the door for second-year guard E’Twaun Moore to earn a meaningful role. Ainge could have the bi-annual exception – a two-year deal worth almost $2 million per season -- to lure another veteran free agent. They also retain the Bird rights on Nenad Krstic, who reportedly left his team in Russia. If they can stay under the tax entirely, they will also be able to make trades far more easily.
As others have pointed out, Ray leaving hurts, but it also makes it a lot easier to fill out our bench. In a sense, Terry replaces Ray Allen and now we'll have the money to bring back the rest of the bench. It also increases the odds that we'll overpay for Jeff Green but we'll just have to wait until we see the final numbers on that before we judge. Also, this might open the door for Danny Ainge to get creative and swing some kind of trade.
I don't know the particulars, but I have to wonder if Ainge will call the Heat and try to work out a sign and trade that would allow the Heat to clear some extra space and give Ray Allen more money (but we would get a player in return). That, however, might be a long shot.
So the Celtics are moving on without Ray Allen. He was always the most likely of the Big 3 to go, but it is still jarring to see it happen. You know that Danny Ainge has 3 or 4 (or more) plan B's, so we'll see what he has up his sleeve.