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Ray Allen reportedly leaning towards returning for a 19th NBA season

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The veteran of 18 seasons is reportedly considering returning for another NBA season. An unrestricted free agent, Allen would reportedly like to stay with LeBron James.

Andy Lyons

Lost in the hoopla of LeBron James' decision to opt out and the implications it could have on Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh has been the status of Ray Allen. While Shane Battier's retirement is all but confirmed, Allen had given little evidence this past season as to what his long term plans were.

At nearly 39 years old, Allen would be the oldest player in the NBA next season (depending on what the oft-injured Steve Nash does), but Allen is notorious for his manic conditioning and shooting routines that have allowed him to remain an effective contributor at an advanced age.

Multiple reports have now come in saying that Allen is leaning towards returning to the NBA. If that were the case, Allen would become an unrestricted free agent as his 2-year deal with Miami has expired (year two was a player option which he accepted). There is some speculation that he would like to stay with LeBron James as the two have developed great rapport on and off the court (following the loss to the Spurs, LeBron vacationed with Allen and James Jones) which would then imply a return to Miami would hinge on LeBron's choice.

Ray Allen is still a feared and effective 3-point shooter whom defenses must respect, but Pat Riley has stated he would like to lessen Allen's workload if he were to remain on the team for the coming years. He remains a high IQ player who still has some ball handling abilities and has shown to be moderately effective inside the arc (53% on 2 pointers this past season. 3rd highest mark in his career), but he was a liability defensively at times and Riley has also stated an intention to get younger on the perimeter.

In his two seasons spent in Miami, Ray Allen has played 152 regular season games and has averaged 10.3 points per game on 44.6% shooting and 39.8% from beyond the arc. He's also contributed a little under 3 rebounds and 2 assists per game in 26.1 minutes per game, mostly off the bench. The 18 year veteran is a 10-time NBA All-Star, the NBA's all time leader in 3 point field goals made, and 21st on the NBA's all-time scoring list, amassing 24,505 points.

It's difficult to speculate what kind of contract Allen would garner from Miami at this point, but it's reasonable to assume an offer of 3 to 4 million a season is within Miami's price range. Still, other teams could always use Allen's shooting and professionalism and can offer similar short term deals at a higher value.

Do you think Miami should bring Ray Allen back? Feel free to discuss in the comments section.