Allen takes care of Celtics’ contract before coming to ACC
WALTHAM, Mass. – If the Miami Heat think they are going to waltz their way to an NBA championship now that they’ve put Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James together, they should pay attention to Ray Allen.
“So much is being pointed to what we did here,” Allen said Tuesday after completing his new contract with the Celtics. “But the question is whether they’re ready to sacrifice – make the ultimate sacrifice. It’s not about numbers. It’s not about accolades. When we did this in ’07, that’s what we all knew and what we all said: It (personal glory) didn’t matter.
“The question that was posed to us was, ‘Who was going to take the last shot?’ We all said, ‘The guy who’s open.”‘
Allen agreed last week to a two-year, $20-million deal with the Celtics that helps the NBA’s most-decorated franchise keep together the core that won an unprecedented 17th championship in 2008. Paul Pierce has also agreed to a new deal; it’s expected to be signed later this week.
With those two All-Stars back and joining Kevin Garnett, who has two years left on his contract, and emerging star Rajon Rondo, the Celtics have a chance to reach the NBA finals for the third time in four years. But to do so, they might have to go through the talents in South Beach.
“We look forward to playing them, for sure,” Allen said at the Celtics’ training facility. “We feel like we’re the better team, like we’re the team to beat in the East.”
The old theory was that an NBA team needs two stars to win a title – think Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the Bulls, or Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal with the Lakers. But the Celtics upped the ante on that when they assembled their new Big Three in the summer of 2007.
Initially, there were doubts that the veteran stars would be able to work together after years of being the go-to guys on separate teams. But the three meshed seamlessly and won the NBA championship in their first year together.
The Heat created their superteam – on paper, at least; they haven’t played a game yet – when they re-signed Wade and added James and Bosh.
But Allen said it’s not so simple.
“Every year, the team that wins the championship sets the mold,” Allen said. “We proved that it could work. But there were so many questions about us when we came in.”
Getting Allen, Garnett and Pierce to accept that philosophy turned out to be easier than many suspected, mostly because they were all in their 30s and none of them had won an NBA title. James is 25 and Bosh is 26; Wade, who is 28, was a part of the Heat team that won it all in 2006.
“I got to my 12th year to really understand it,” Allen said. “It is a sacrifice, and it takes the understanding to realize it.”
In a 14-year career for Milwaukee, Seattle and Boston, Allen is second all-time in 3-pointers and fifth among active players with 20,965 points. Allen, who turns 35 next week, averaged 16.3 points last season as the Celtics reached the NBA finals before losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers.
After the NBA finals, Allen said, “It’s obvious I don’t want to be anywhere else.”
Allen said on Tuesday his priorities were family first, winning second and “money was last.” He held off enrolling his kids in school while he was making a decision, but he was glad to sign early so they could all relax for the summer.
“They call my jersey ‘Daddy Celtics.’ This is what they know and that meant a lot,” said Allen, who listened to other offers and according to his agent could have gotten more elsewhere. “I’m always willing to do that, but at the same time I’m a loyal person. I know when I’ve got a great situation and that’s what I have here.”
Allen said that when he first signed with the Celtics, a woman came up to him at a restaurant and said, “I liked you better with Seattle.” He figured she meant that he would have better numbers and be a bigger star with the SuperSonics.
“I like myself better here,” he said, “knowing that we’re going to win games; we’re going to have a chance to win championships.”
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