ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, citing sources, reported Sunday morning that the Celtics would be willing to offer in the ballpark of $6 million per season for a potential two-year deal in order to retain the services of veteran shooting guard Ray Allen. A few quick thoughts on this news:
* C's still want Allen: With Kevin Garnett in the spotlight over the past two weeks, there's been a perception that the Celtics don't desire to retain Allen. High interest around the league -- most notably in Miami and Memphis -- only further suggested that Allen might be wanted more elsewhere. But, make no mistake, Boston wants Allen back and is pulling out its trump card here with the ability to pay more than other suitors.
* 6 > 5 > 3: In holding Allen's full Bird rights, the Celtics can go over the salary cap to retain him without worrying about the price tag (within reason, they still want to be under the luxury tax threshold of roughly $74 million total salary). With that in mind, the Celtics can offer more than just about any other competitor and that's where the $6 million puts them in a power position. The Miami Heat will only have the tax-payer's mid-level exception of $3 million to offer, while a team like Memphis can offer the full mid-level exception at $5 million. Boston can top them both, further enticing Allen to consider staying in Boston.
* Is $6 million too much?: Maybe, but the Celtics are banking on Allen returning to form after battling bone spurs in his ankle at the end of last season. He still shot a career best behind the 3-point arc and there's no one in the league you'd rather have shooting a late-game trifecta than Allen. There's something to be said about maintaing the entire Big Three if the Celtics put the band together this summer. There's even more to be said about keeping him away from your chief Eastern Conference rival or any other team you might see in the postseason.
* C's can still shop at that price tag: One more thing to keep in mind: Bringing back Allen at $6 million does not necessarily mean the Celtics won't still be under the tax threshold. By being responsible with their remaining contracts, there's still a very good chance Boston would have the full mid-level ($5 million) to go pursue another bench scorer like O.J. Mayo, Jamal Crawford, or Jason Terry -- three players that various reports indicated the team targeted when free agency opened at midnight. Having both Allen and another offensive threat off the pine wouldn't be the worst thing for a team that struggled to consistent score the basketball last season.
What's your take? Is Allen worth $6 million per season to bring back? Sound off in the comments.
Update, 1:45 p.m.: Some additional details from Broussard:
Sources confirm that Memphis has offered full mid-level ($5 million) to Allen. They've offered it for two years. Boston is willing to pay $12 million over two years, though no offer has been made yet. Miami (mini mid-level), Atlanta, Dallas and LA Clippers have also expressed interest in Allen.
Allen will take his time and go through the process, considering the financial aspects of each offer, his role on the team, and the team's ability to compete for a championship, sources said.
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