Ray Allen does not generally come to quick conclusions, at least when he’s off the court.
Allen, who did react speedily to a dire situation last week — setting his feet and splashing a right-corner 3-pointer to tie Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs — has a reputation as a deliberative person, someone who likes to retain control of situations, only deciding on a course of action when completely ready.
So rather than sign a multi-year contract with the Heat last summer, he accepted a one-year deal with an option, and rented in South Florida rather than buying. He spoke all season, however, about how comfortable he had become with teammates and the organization, marveling at the tightness of the team, and building an especially strong relationship with LeBron James.
“These guys welcomed me with open arms,” Allen repeatedly said.
And late Friday, he ran back into them, officially exercising his $3.23 million option to stay. Allen could have opted out to try to secure slightly more money over a longer deal with Miami, which could have cost owner Micky Arison a little more against the luxury tax. He elected not to do so.
Allen’s choice means that all three Heat players with options — including Rashard Lewis and James Jones — are sticking around, barring the unlikely event of a trade. It means that 12 veterans are already on board for next season, with Chris Andersen and Juwan Howard free agents. Jarvis Varnado is expected to compete for the 15th roster spot, starting with summer league play in Orlando the week of July 7.
Allen struggled some on the road, especially early in the season, and was sometimes a step slow defensively, but did average 10.9 points in 25.8 minutes, shooting 41.9 percent from behind the arc. Miami’s coaches, executives and officials made it clear they wanted him back, even with him turning 38 in less than a month. Erik Spoelstra indicated that the Heat would need to recruit him all over again, in much the same way they did to steal him from Boston. Udonis Haslem even admitted that he started working on Allen in the shower shortly after Game 7 ended, and the championship was secured.
“I can’t speak for Ray; I really don’t know what his decision going to be,” Pat Riley said Wednesday. “I do know that we want him back, and I also know that he’s a very, very smart man and playing with LeBron James and Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and having him on the roster and all the other players that he has come very close to, I think he’ll make the wise decision.”
Maybe this is what everyone should have expected all along.
As as his father Walter Sr. said, while massaging his shoulders in the champagne-soaked locker room: “I told him to come here two years ago.”
Ennis the newest arrival: Since cutting Terrel Harris in January, Miami was without a young, developmental wing, behind James, Wade, Allen, Jones and Mike Miller, all in their 30s except for James.
That explains the move to trade a future second-round pick to Atlanta to acquire the rights to Long Beach State swingman James Ennis, after the Hawks took him No. 50 overall. The 6-foot-7 Ennis is athletic but raw, averaging 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 35.7 percent from the shorter 3-point distance last season.
He will participate in summer league in Orlando, aiming to secure one of the last two roster spots.