The Globe’s NBA writer Gary Washburn caught up with Ray Allen at the end of tonight’s Hall of Fame ceremony.
Ray Allen said Friday night that he would like to negotiate a contract extension with the Celtics beyond this season. Allen, who turned 34 in July, is entering the final year of a five-year, $85 million deal he signed with the team formally known as the Seattle SuperSonics. Allen will earn $19.7 million this season.
“Of course, but it will be dealt with in its time,” said Allen, when asked whether he would like to play more years in Boston. “My job doesn’t change. I gotta go out and do the same things. We get paid to play basketball. We’re all in a great situation so we can’t look past this year.”
Allen, along with many of his Celtics teammates, have been working out at the team’s training facility in Waltham and he believes the club is motivated after falling in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Orlando Magic – without a hobbling Kevin Garnett.
Garnett has been working out individually in Waltham and Allen believes he will be ready for training camp as well the rest of his inspired teammates.
“We’re excited. Being veteran players, we all know what we’re playing for and the feeling we had in ’08, we want to get back to that,” he said. “And Rasheed (Wallace) wants to get back to the feeling when he won a championship as well. So it’s not about individuals, we know we’ve got to come together collectively as a team and try to find the best chemistry to make this thing work so we can be that dominant team like we were in ’08.’
With the additions of Wallace, Shelden Williams and Marquis Daniels and the re-signing of Glen Davis and a healthy Garnett, the Celtics are primed to return to their 2007-08 form. It is a critical year for Allen because of his contract status as well as Rajon Rondo, who is trying to prove he should get paid as an elite point guard.
“We always talk about teams on paper that could contend for championships and on paper, we look pretty good right now but we have to get back to that same mantra of ubuntu (a South African term for “I exist for you”) where everybody is on the same page and everybody is trying to make each other better,” he said. “But we do believe we have the right guys to do it. The organization did everything they could over the summertime to put us in contention and now it’s up to us players to get the job done.”
Allen attended the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies and watched childhood hero Michael Jordan’s memorable induction. Jordan chose idol David Thompson as his presenter and Allen liked the idea of a mentor in that role.
“Any time you can be around great players, legends, Hall of Famers, it’s a great pleasure,” he said as he exited Symphony Hall. “I enjoyed this event, watching Michael get inducted and him having David Thompson up on stage and I think about that for myself with Mike because Mike was a guy I always wanted to be like and a lot of us kids wanted to be like. So it was great to see him talk about who pushed him, who did it for him because he was that guy for a lot of us.”