In our pathetic attempts to make the NBA seem like a more important organism than it actually is, we've noticed here on MAMBINO that the L seems to resemble America in a lot of ways. Most notably, the rich are getting richer, while the poor are only going to the lottery again.
Let's look at what's happened in the past few days:
- 2010 Champion Los Angeles Lakers acquire PG Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns
- 2008 Champion Boston Celtics acquire SG Jason Terry for a 3-year, $15 million deal
- Oklahoma City Thunder acquire C Hasheem Thabeet
Let's get down to business: the Evil Empire just got better. A lot better.
I've looked at this trade sideways ever since the news broke, and quite honestly, I can only see one avenue, besides freak injury, in which this signing goes wrong.
As for what's right? Even on 37 year-old surgically repaired ankles, Ray Allen is still an unshakeably devastating shooter. Every complaint about his age or mobility has to be combated with sheer numbers: we're looking at 47/40/90 shooting percentages over his Celtics career. For those of you that aren't stat-savvy, those type of numbers put him up there with the Larry Birds and Steve Nashs of NBA history. In fact, over the past two seasons, a 36 and 37 year-old Allen has shot 48/45/89, while playing 80 games in 2010-2011. Yes, he just had surgery on ankles that severely limited his role down the stretch this year, but we're talking about a world-class athlete who looks just as good now as he did 10 years ago.
In regards to the Miami Heat offensive system, I have little doubt that Jesus Shuttlesworth will be able to fit in. Most likely, he'll come off the bench behind Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers. According to early reports, he'll be spelling the Heat's starting backcourt for extended periods of time, seeing as Wade will be coming off injury and the team from a prolonged season that ended in June. It's no secret that coach Erik Spoelstra had to ride his talent into the dirt to get enough team production out of them. Going into 2012-2013, Miami knows they'll have to get their guys more rest in order to compete deep into June. Enter, Jesus. The Heat now have a legitimate 8-man rotation that includes Wade, Chalmers, Shane Battier, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Norris Cole. The Heat will still be undersized, but looking at all the hardware in owner Mickey Arison's office, it seemed to work out just fine. Ray will no doubt get big, big minutes, and the season-long clangers shot by Mike Miller and Shane Battier will belong to him.
The contract itself is extremely manageable. Even in the event that Allen gets hurt, or even unlikelier than he's healthy and simply ineffective, the way over the cap Heat will only suffer a $3 million per year hit. Considering the Celtics offered him two years and $12 million, GM Pat Riley got even more of a bargain.
The only way I see Allen potentially hurting the Heat is if his ankles don't hold up post-surgery. Ray has played terrific team defense his five years in Boston, fitting well into Doc Rivers' schemes even though he'd been considered a subpar defender his entire career. He seemed to guard players like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade best, relishing the challenge of luring opposing superstars into defensive traps and using his quick hands for strips. He should fit well into a similar system in Miami, and with talented wing defenders like Battier, LeBron and Wade, could even have to contribute less on that end.
For Boston, this isn't the end of the world. The early word is that Ray's deteriorating relationship with backcourt-mate Rajon Rondo hastened his exit out of the organization. With reports like that, even the strongest locker room like that of the C's could be shaken when two of your four best players are bickering. More importantly, the signing this week of Jason Terry lessens the need for the sharpshooting Shuttlesworth, not to mention opens up the door for the defensive-minded Avery Bradley to continue his development. Also, a $6 million dollar annual salary for a guy like Allen might seem a bargain, but with the C's counting on rookies Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo for production alongside KG, perhaps that money would be better served getting another center, such as Marcus Camby or Kris Humphries.
In the end, a great signing for Miami, but very subtlely a great move for the Celtics. Calm down Boston. I know anger is the reflex, but this will bear fruit. I promise. An already intense rivalry has just gotten even more fun, and turly, there's not a lot that will bring me more joy than these two fanbases and teams disliking each other more.