MIAMI — Ray Allen’s role in Miami is yet to be totally determined. And that clearly doesn’t bother the NBA’s leading 3-point shooter.
Allen and Rashard Lewis signed their free-agent contracts with the Heat on Wednesday, giving the NBA champions a pair of veterans who bring tons of experience and versatility to a lineup already featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
And both wasted no time saying they want to adapt to the Heat way.
“Whatever’s going to be best for me in this situation is going to figure itself out,” Allen said, flanked by Heat President Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra for his introductory news conference. “This team won a championship without me. I’m not going to come in and expect for coach to cater to who I am and what I do. I’ve got to make that work on the floor with my new teammates.”
Allen agreed to join the Heat on Friday, deciding to leave Boston after five wildly successful seasons and the 2008 NBA championship. Lewis agreed to terms with Miami on Tuesday.
Allen will make just over $3 million this season. Lewis will earn about $1.35 million from the Heat, plus another $13.7 million after getting a buyout from the New Orleans Hornets earlier this off-season.
“I’m at a point in my career where I’ve been on the All-Star team, played for 13, 14 years and I’ve made a pretty good amount of money over my career,” Lewis said. “Everybody sets goals over their career and my next goal is obviously to try to win a championship. The ball can’t bounce forever. I’m sure you all see the grey hair on my head.”
For Lewis, coming to Miami is a new beginning. For Allen, coming to Miami wraps up a month of unexpected twists and turns.
The Celtics’ season ended in Miami a little over a month ago, with a loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Allen was unusually emotional after that defeat, then insisted that even after an injury-marred season — he’s recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle — he has basketball left in his legs.
Boston tried to keep him, offering him twice as much as he’ll make per year in Miami. Nonetheless, Allen found himself drawn to the Heat.
“You come into the summer, and you don’t know what potentially can happen,” Allen said. “And you take the process a step at a time, try to figure out what’s best for you and your family. And here I sit.”
Allen said that Celtics coach Doc Rivers and general manager Danny Ainge were disappointed by his decision. Allen said he reached out to Kevin Garnett — he was particularly close with Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston — when he began leaning toward Miami, telling Garnett in a text message that the move was likely.
Garnett’s responded by saying that he was sure Ainge would do whatever it took to keep Allen in Boston.
Days later, Allen was signing in Miami. And on Wednesday, Allen downplayed the notion that the move came in part because of a perceived rift with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
“I can’t say that it factored in my decision,” Allen said. “As teammates, we were brothers. … There’s differences. We all have differences. Paul eats corn flakes. I might not like corn flakes. That’s just part of kind of who we are as individuals.”
Lewis has already thought plenty about what it could mean to share the court with James, Wade, Bosh and Allen. In short, he knows defences could be a bit confounded.
“You’ve got to double-team LeBron. You have to double-team Dwyane Wade. You’ve got to double-team Chris Bosh. And then you think they’re going to leave Ray Allen open?” Lewis said. “They’ve got to leave somebody open. So I have to go shoot a million jumpers tonight and be ready to knock them down.”
A few moments later, Lewis posed with Riley and Spoelstra, holding his new No. 9 jersey in Miami colours.
“He’s played in a great program already. He’s been to the finals. He’s a winner,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve had some great battles against him.”
Spoelstra simply raved about Allen as well.
“There’s only a handful of players, really, in this league that absolutely strike fear into their opponent. And Ray is one of those players,” Spoelstra said.
Allen and Lewis were Seattle teammates for five seasons, from 2003 through 2007 — and both figure to fit perfectly into Miami’s plan to surround James, Wade and Bosh with even more shooters who can stretch defences.
Allen’s 2,718 made 3-pointers are the most in NBA history, and Lewis ranks fifth among active players with 1,690 makes from beyond the arc.