From the moment he hit the dramatic 3-pointer that helped send Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals to overtime and the Miami Heat, eventually, to a second consecutive NBA championship, the notion of Ray Allen returning to AmericanAirlines Arena in an opposing uniform appeared remote.
Of course, so did the possibility of LeBron James returning in visiting colors.
Now, in an offseason that has turned the Heat upside down, from four-time-defending Eastern Conference champions to championship longshots, Allen, according to a report, appears poised to become the latest Heat champion headed from South Florida to Northeast Ohio,
In the wake of James, James Jones and Mike Miller signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Allen reportedly is mulling a similar move, according to the Boston Globe.
Allen, who has been touring China, including a period when James was there, as well, indicated after the season that he would weigh retirement against only the possibilities of again playing alongside James. Allen, in fact, vacationed immediately after the season with his family and the families of Jones and James.
According to China media outlet Sina Sports, Allen plans a full physical before deciding whether to continue an NBA career that has taken him from the Milwaukee Bucks to Seattle SuperSonics to Boston Celtics to, these past two seasons, the Heat. Allen recently closed on a house in Miami, but previously said he would consider playing elsewhere.
The agency that represents Allen on Thursday evening posted on Twitter, "The reports that Ray Allen intends to play for the Cavs are unfounded. He has not yet decided if he will play next season or for which team."
Allen joined the Heat in the 2012 offseason, winning the 2013 championship alongside James and then advancing with the Heat to the 2014 NBA Finals, starting Game 5 of the series against the San Antonio Spurs in place of Mario Chalmers, with the Heat's championship run ending that night at the AT&T Center.
According to the Boston Globe, Allen, who turned 39 last Sunday, is leaning toward a return with the Cavaliers if he chooses to play a 19th season.
The Heat already have renounced their rights to Allen, meaning they could bring him back for no more that the $1.4 million veteran-minimum salary, with the rest of the team's salary-cap space and salary-cap exceptions spent on other players. Allen earned $3.2 million with the Heat this past season.
Because of their cap position, the Cavaliers cannot offer Allen more than the veteran minimum. Several other teams have expressed interest in Allen, should he decide to play another season.
Allen served as the primary backup to Dwyane Wade the past two seasons, with that spot currently held on the Heat's revised roster by Danny Granger, who was signed earlier this offseason as a free agent from the Los Angeles Clippers. Rookie James Ennis, the 2013 second-round acquisition who spent this past season playing in Australia and Puerto Rico, also could set up as a reserve wing.
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