Lets get one thing straight right off the bat. I'm a huge fan of Ray Allen. He's one of my favorite Celtics and I the only guy I'd rather have taking a last second shot is named Larry Bird. I'm completely comfortable hanging onto Ray Allen and I think he gives us a great chance at another banner.
With that said, as the title suggests, I am here to tell you that we have to at least think about trading Ray Allen.
The biggest reason is simply that his value may never be higher in a trade. He doesn't just have an expiring contract. He's got 19.7M in salary that we can match up with just about anyone in the league. Let me put this in perspective for you. If for some reason the Miami Heat decided that they just can't stand T-Mobile commercials, we could take Dwyane Wade off their hands and still have enough money left to throw Michael Beasley in the deal too. That's what close to $20M could buy you in salaries. Of course, just because we might be willing to buy doesn't mean other teams are selling.
For that I give you one of the oddest offseasons in recent memory. You might have heard a few times lately that teams have an eye on the 2010 offseason. Considering how New Jersey, New York and other teams made set-up moves for 2010 last year, I can only imagine what kind of posturing will happen this year.
So you need to find a team that is looking to drop salary for 2010. Ideally you'd want to only take back guys that have 2 or 3 years left on their deals (so you can maintain some flexibility of your own as Pierce and KG age). The question isn't who would be willing to deal for Ray. The question is "who wouldn't?"
Before we start naming names, let me remind everyone that even if we decide to trade Ray, we have several timeframes to make the deal. The offseason would seem logical. More teams are willing to make moves in the offseason and on draft night in particular. Then there's the option of trading him during the season - at the trade deadline for instance.
Consider this dream scenario: Team A trades for Ray Allen, shedding nearly 20M per year in salary after this season. They are out of the running for the playoffs, so to further cut costs, they buy out Ray Allen and he spends 30 days resting his ankles and returns to the Celtics for the stretch run.
Ok, enough lead in. You want names. I'll preface this with this caveat: I don't have any rumors supporting these ideas. Some of them are insanely lopsided in our favor. Some we wouldn't even do unless Ray suffered a career ending injury. I'm just offering you a pallet of ideas to discuss and pick apart if you like. Enjoy.
Say Gilbert Arenas has another season ending surgery and the Wizards have buyers remorse and start selling off. Here's two for them.
Ray Allen for A. Jamison & C. Butler
Ray Allen for A. Jamison & B. Haywood
Utah has been trying to figure out what to do with Kirilenko for years.
Ray Allen for A. Kirilenko & R. Brewer
Say we sign or trade for a near-All Star shooting guard. Would you turn around and trade Ray Allen for an entire bench?
Ray Allen for J. Przybilla, M. Webster, T. Outlaw, S. Blake
Ray Allen for E. Watson, N. Collison, N. Kristic
Will any of these happen? No, probably not. The idea here is to illustrate that Ray gives us a ton of buying power if we chose to use him. I'm pretty sure we would only trade him if we got knocked over with a fantastic deal by a desperate team. But it only takes one desperate team to make that happen. This is why Danny will never say "we are 100% never going to trade Ray Allen.
I'm sure I've missed a lot of options and I'm also sure that many of you have ideas of your own. Feel free to offer up your own ideas in the Trade Ideas forums. By the way, I'm also sure that several people will only look at the trades, not read what I wrote in the intro, and proceed to tell me how terrible and/or unrealistic all my ideas are. That's fine, I'm ready for it. At least I put some names on the table to discuss. Enjoy.