Allen to come off bench for Heat
For the Heat, the sole priority of free agency was achieved with such swiftness, that Miami stood as the lone stop on Ray Allen’s free-agency tour.
While Allen, who had grown disgruntled in Boston in the wake of repeated attempts by the Celtics to trade him, had sparked free-agency interest from the Clippers, Grizzlies and Timberwolves, all it took was a single face-to-face session with Heat President Pat Riley to seal his decision.
Allen will slot into the Heat’s $3.1 million taxpayer mid-level exception, to play off the bench behind Dwyane Wade, but assured by Riley of something close to starter’s minutes.
With the Heat going small on the way to the 2012 championship, the addition of Allen likely means continued time at center for Chris Bosh, time at power forward for LeBron James and significant side-by-side time for Allen alongside Wade.
Allen comes aboard at a time when Wade is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and NBA Finals Game 5 shooting star Mike Miller is considering back surgery.
For Riley, having a shooter such as Allen available to space the floor for Bosh’s post-ups and the penetration of James and Wade was essential, which is also why the Heat also added Rashard Lewis in free agency.
“I just know that we want to find as much space as we can on the floor for Dwyane and for LeBron, for Chris to be able to operate,” Riley said. “I think we found some of the formula in the playoffs.”
With Allen and Lewis aboard it also means the Heat likely will go more often without a true point guard on the court, with James, Wade and Allen all capable of ballhandling and playmaking.
Foremost, the additions of Allen and Lewis give the Heat more of a proven and reliable perimeter component off the bench than it had last season with Miller and James Jones, particularly when Shane Batter was moved into the starting lineup during the playoffs.
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