Sought-after free agent shooting guard Ray Allen is leaning toward retirement, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com told ESPN Cleveland radio host Jason Gibbs on Friday (Twitter link; audio link). It would be a disappointment to several teams if the 39-year-old were to retire, and particularly to the Cavs, who have seemingly been the front-runners to land him since the summer even as Allen and agent Jim Tanner repeatedly insisted that no decision had been made. The Clippers, Grizzlies and Warriors were the most recent teams to jump in the fray for him, while Cleveland was among a group that maintained interest as of late last month that also included the Wizards, Bulls and Spurs.
Allen spent last season with the Heat, but he’s seemingly ruled out the idea of returning to play in Miami. The league’s all-time leading three-point shot maker appeared to show his age last year, averaging 9.6 points per game, the first time he put up fewer than 10 PPG in his 18 NBA seasons. The career 40.0% three-point shooter connected on just 37.5% of his attempts from behind the arc in 2013/14. Still, that rate put Allen among the better outside shooters, and his experience as a two-time champion gives him extra value to contenders. He indicated a strong preference for playing for more than the minimum salary this summer, and since many teams, including the Cavs, can pay him no more than that, it’s quite possible that’s a factor in his decision-making. A prorated minimum-salary contract would give Allen the lowest salary of his career, one in which he’s accumulated more than $184MM in earnings, as Basketball-Reference shows.
The 10-time All-Star has enjoyed a decorated career that’s likely Hall-of-Fame worthy regardless of whether he comes back to pad his total of 2,973 three-pointers, more than 400 more than the next player on the list and more than 900 more than Jason Terry, the active leader in that category. Still, he was much more than just a spot-up shooter, averaging 21.8 PPG or better eight times, including 2006/07, when he put up a career-high 26.4 PPG for the SuperSonics. That was the season before a trade sent him to Boston, where he earned his first championship. He left the Celtics in somewhat acrimonious fashion in 2012 to join the Heat, and he picked up title No. 2 in Miami. He didn’t make it to the Finals with either Seattle or his original team, the Bucks, but he was on a Milwaukee team that fell in a seven-game Eastern Conference Finals in 2001.