Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat’s prime target in free agency, guard Ray Allen, will visit the team Thursday to talk with team officials about joining the reigning NBA Champions.
Allen has been the primary target of the Heat since the end of the NBA season. NBA MVP LeBron James has gone so far as to tweet that he hopes to play alongside Allen next season.
The 3-point-ace would fit just about perfectly in the Heat’s offense. Miami wants to spread the floor with consistent 3-point shooters which opens up lanes for LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh to attack.
The Heat already have Shane Battier in the rotation, but adding Allen would give the Heat a closing lineup including: LeBron, Wade, Allen, Battier, and Bosh; five All-Stars together on the court.
Allen has made at least 100 3-pointers in 15 of his 16 NBA seasons. The only exception was the strike shortened season of 1998-199. Last year, Allen connected on 45 percent of his 3-point shots.
Things may have started to swing in Miami’s favor Tuesday afternoon. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo.com, the Celtics will sign guard Jason Terry to a 3-year deal paying the mid-level exception of roughly $5 million per season.
That would make Allen expendable to the Celtics. Boston plans to run with Avery Bradley as the starting two guard because of his defensive skills. That would leave Terry to either play the two or give some relief to Rajon Rondo at the point. Terry is a shooter first, so his natural position would be at the two.
Boston could still make room for Allen, but that would hurt them in trying to re-sign Brandon Bass to a long-term contract. Boston has already committed roughly $12 million to center Kevin Garnett and now another $5 million to Terry.
Boston would be hard capped since it used the full mid-level exception and if Allen returned at $6 million per season that would leave roughly $9 million to sign Bass and another veteran, according to SI.com.
While Miami can’t offer the same amount of cash; it can offer the chance to join a champion that still has solid years ahead in its window to win another championship.
Miami was thought to be looking at a backup plan of Terry, but that’s moot now that he’s signed with the Celtics.