Ray Allen’s numbers are down this year (he’s averaging 15.7 points per game, nearly five below his career average) and his lucrative contract is up at season’s end, so it should come as no surprise that his name would be mentioned in trade rumors leading up to the Feb. 18 deadline.
According to a column by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski that was posted yesterday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, whose team looked weary in losing six of eight games before last night’s win at Washington, has at least gauged interest around the league in the 34-year-old shooting guard.
The only rumor to surface regarding Allen in the past few weeks involved sending him to Golden State for guard Monta Ellis, a 24-year-old, 6-foot-3-inch shoot-first guard who is averaging 25.8 points per game this season. When such a possibility was suggested to Warriors coach Don Nelson, he literally laughed it off.
But Ainge apparently is considering other and all options. Wrote Wojnarowski:
The Celtics have initiated trade proposals on Allen, multiple league sources say, and Boston is searching for a younger, less expensive guard and an expiring contract. This way they can find a replacement for. . . Allen without losing him and his [$19 million] expiring contract for nothing in free agency this summer. Only, there isn’t a shooting guard available who’s Allen’s peer. This threatens a perilous choice between transitioning for the future and refusing to compromise a chance to win a title now.
It’s worth noting that Wojnarowski has been plugged in to behind-the-scenes happenings with Celtics in the past, and in terms of the future, he provides some insight into Allen’s mind-set.
Allen is privately resigned to the fact that it’s unlikely the Celtics will want to re-sign him this summer. He’s believed to be intrigued with the possibility of joining the Miami Heat or staying close to his Connecticut home and signing with the New York Knicks. Nevertheless, Allen wants to stay a Celtic and that’s never wavered. Yet the sheer economics make it improbable unless he’s willing to cost himself several million dollars next year.