It looks like Paul Pierce wasn’t the only former player Doc Rivers recruited this summer. In an interview with the Boston Herald, free agent Ray Allen revealed that Rivers sought out the shooting guard toward the beginning of NBA free agency:
Allen also knows what every contender interested in him has in mind. He is a 39-year-old shooter who is expected to accomodate some team’s salary cap crisis by accepting a veteran’s minimum contract. Not so fast, says Allen. Included on Allen’s call list is his former Celtics coach, Doc Rivers, now on behalf of the Clippers.
“A lot have called. Doc called earlier in the summer,” he said. “A lot of teams want to be able to get me at the veteran’s minimum. I still have an ego, too. I still have a service to provide, and teams still have to pay me what I feel my presence is worth. I have to take that into consideration, if it’s worth putting my body through what it will take over 82 games.”
With the full mid-level exception and bi-annual exception available, it’s safe to say Ray Allen wasn’t (or couldn’t have been) Doc Rivers first choice at shooting guard. The Clippers had little need at the two-guard spot with J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, and the newly drafted C.J. Wilcox on the roster, but with trade rumors swirling and Crawford and his then-non-guaranteed contract being at the peak of them, Allen could’ve been a solid emergency replacement.
Even at the age of 39, Allen can still provide to a NBA team–preferably a contender. Last season with the Miami Heat, Allen averaged 9.6 points per game while shooting 37 percent from behind the arch. Considering the Clippers struggling percentage-wise from three, Allen would’ve been a healthy addition. Of course, Allen’s defense tends to be an issue at his age–he’s just unable to do what he did in his prime–but based on what Rivers has emphasized these last two summer, Allen’s lack of defense isn’t bad enough to make the Clippers remove consideration.
Ultimately, the relationship between the two parties (Clippers, Allen) may not have worked out–the Clippers were offering the veterans minimum and Allen doesn’t look to be settling for that. Whether he believes it or not, Allen is minimum talent… at least on a contender such as the Clippers he is. There are plenty of teams available that could throw money to Allen (see Gordon, Ben), but those teams are closer to the lottery than a NBA championship and, at this point in his career, it’s difficult seeing Ray return just to play for a good draft pick.
Now Allen finds himself choosing between the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and retirement.