Assuming the Celtics and Pierce can work out the details on that pesky 4th year, we'll have two of the 3 biggest question marks headed into this offseason resolved. Doc and Pierce will be back, but what about Ray?
Ray doesn't have the burden of history on his shoulders that Paul Pierce did. He loves Boston and I'm sure he'd love to return for another run, but he didn't play his whole career here. So he's a lot more open to the option of finishing his career elsewhere, especially if the fit and the paycheck are right.
I don't think he'll necessarily chase the highest payday regardless of the situation. But there are plenty of contenders and wannabe contenders out there that would love to give Ray Allen big bucks to be their sharpshooter. Think about the Knicks situation right now. They'll likely miss out on the LeBron, Wade, Bosh show. They are closing in on Amare and they might be able to add another piece (Joe Johnson?) then they would have some motivation to pick up a guy like Ray who would stretch the floor for them. Or maybe the Clippers, with all their new cap room and a few decent pieces would be able to lure Ray out West.
I think a lot of this stuff will get resolved in the next week or so as the world reacts to the decisions that LeBron and company make. The melodrama that's is happening now is mildly fascinating to me from a spectator's perspective, but as a Celtics fan, what falls out in the following weeks could be much more intriguing.
The chances are still very good that Ray decides that his best fit is with the Celtics. I think the Celtics would really like to re-sign Ray. But on the other hand, I don't get the feel that they are as desperate to do so as they were Paul. I'm not one to downplay Ray's importance. There are plenty of stats out there to show that the team was better with Ray on the floor. With that said, the main weapon in his arsenal is relatively easy to replace with younger or cheaper talent.
Think that sounds crazy? You are ready to tell me that you can't replace the greatest shooter in the game with some young buck. True, but I'm not sure Ray's the greatest anymore. Or to put it differently, Ray can only be the greatest on occasion these days. Game 2 of the Finals proved that he's still got it. The rest of the games in the series proved that he doesn't always have it when he wants it.
I think that is why you are hearing interest in guys like Anthony Morrow and even Mike Miller. I think it is worth noting as well how valuable Ray could be in a sign-and-trade. Again, you are looking for a team that is either a contender or thinks it will contend in the next 2 years. Most of those teams don't have much to give back to the Celtics that they wouldn't rather hold onto and I'm not sure the Celtics would want the guys available (does anyone want Eddie Curry? I want no part of Michael Beasley).
Still, you can never put it past Danny to get creative. Is there some way to work a double sign-and-trade sending Ray to New York for David Lee? I am sure that's been suggested and shot down many times in recent days, but you never know if you include it in a larger deal.
Of course all of this could be a moot point by next week anyway. Ray might just decide that the grass is plenty green enough in Boston and sign a contract that lets him retire there. Again, it may come down to the number of years rather than the size of the annual salary and I'm guessing it will end up being a 3 year deal.
Still, I was pretty confident that Paul Pierce would be back. Ray I'm not so sure of. We'll see.