Miami Heat owner Micky Arison has just tweeted that free agent Ray Allen has indeed decided to sign with the NBA Champions.
Its 2:30am in London and I was just woken up with great news. Welcome to the family #20!!
Allen declined to make another run with the Boston Celtics, who clearly want to retain their core by locking up Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and Jeff Green to multiyear contracts as well as adding savvy veteran Jason Terry to the mix.
Yet again, the Heat and Celtics were locked in battle as the only two realistic options for the sharpshooter though Boston appeared to have the edge because they were reportedly offering a contract twice as lucrative and carried an exclusive no-trade clause. Needless to say, the stakes were much higher than the previous free agent battle between these two rivals when Troy Murphy was bought out by the Golden State Warriors last year.
The Heat were also pursuing Houston Rockets center Marcus Camby, who is 38 but arguably fills a greater need on the roster with his length and shot blocking ability. He is reportedly looking for more than just the veteran's minimum which means the Heat will have to pull off another convincing argument for another valued veteran to sign for less money in pursuit of another title run.
One player that perhaps could be had for the minimum is Rashard Lewis, whose career will perhaps always be overshadowed by his gargantuan Orlando Magic $118 million max contract, but could possibly help the Heat with his outside shooting. Unfortunately, his production has dropped off considerably in the past few years and, as staff writer Diego Quezada succinctly pointed out yesterday, he is a poor defender and a suspect rebounder for a player of his size and that's been the case in all of his 14 seasons in the NBA. Lewis wouldn't mind the midlevel himself, but has earned so much money in his career that you'd figure he could live with the minimum should other teams don't outbid the Heat.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld is reporting that Lewis will visit with the Heat on Sunday.
There’s mutual interest between Lewis and the Heat, and the two sides could agree to terms on a deal if all goes well this weekend.
On Wednesday, the Heat declined to offer Terrel Harris a new contract on the fourth of July that would have to be fully guaranteed and count immediately towards the salary cap. By making him an unrestricted free agent and with the decision by Ronny Turiaf to decline his player option, the Heat have options to fill out a few spots on their roster. This also doesn't account for impending decisions by Mike Miller and Juwan Howard on whether or not they will retire. In addition, they also traded out of the first round of the NBA Draft which would have meant another guaranteed contract.