Longtime NBA shooting guard Ray Allen is “leaning toward” joining the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 19th NBA season, reports Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. The move would reunite Allen with LeBron James and allow the two to continue their pursuit of rings together in Northeast Ohio.
Allen, 39, has recently been touring China and weighing his options after finishing last season with the Miami Heat. Health has been a big consideration this summer for the veteran, and he told reporters overseas that he planned to return Thursday and undergo MRIs on both knees before making a final decision.
Any signing with the Cavaliers or another team will likely wait until the results of those tests are revealed, but at this point, it seems like Cleveland or bust for the future Hall of Famer. Even though other teams will reportedly be interested if Allen opts to play, nobody else can offer the opportunity to play alongside LeBron.
And there are good reasons for Cleveland to want Allen around, even at his age. Specifically, he remains a highly lethal long range shooter, and his propensity for coming through in the clutch cannot be denied. Over two seasons playing next to LeBron in Miami, Allen shot 40 percent from the field, and while other parts of his game continue slowing down, Allen’s ability to get open and hit shots remains nearly unparallelled.
That makes the Cavs a strong fit, since ballhandlers like James and Kyrie Irving can pull attention from defenders while leaving Allen free to roam. It’s the kind of setup he’s thrived in over the years as his game has evolved, and at this point in his career, it’s admittedly the best scenario for his aging knees.
Cleveland also has Dion Waiters and Andrew Wiggins to eat significant minutes at shooting guard, meaning that Allen could take on an even smaller workload than the one he had in Miami. All in all, you can see why Allen would consider taking the extra millions to give it one more go with the Cavs.
Last season, Allen averaged 9.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent overall and 38 percent from three.