After directing the Heat to a championship in 2006, team president Pat Riley kept the roster mostly intact and bypassed the chance to make big changes.
Riley has taken a much different approach this time. The Miami Heat officially made 2 key vet additions to their championship core by signing Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to contracts on the 1st day NBA teams were permitted to accomplish agreements with free agents.
By bringing aboard Allen, the Miami Heat not only pick up a player who is the league’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals, they also swipe a key contributor from a Celtics team that was Miami’s chief rival in the East.
Allen, 36 years old, turned down a two year, $12 million offer to return to the Boston Celtics and accepted a 3-year contract with the Miami Heat, who were restricted to only their mini-midlevel quantity of just more than $3 million per season.
Lewis, 32 years old, reached an agreement for $2.6 million over 2 years at the veterans’ minimum. He also received more than $13 million in a buyout from the Hornets after he was traded last month by the Wizards. NFL odds
In Allen and Lewis, the Miami Heat gains 2 players who’ve made a career out of spreading the floor and knocking down 3-pointers. That skill is a priority in Miami, where shooters are at a premium around LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who led the Heat to a championship after defeating Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals last month.
Allen, a 16-year vet, has made 2,718 3-pointers and averaged 20 points over a career that has included stops in Milwaukee and Seattle before he was traded to Boston 5 years ago. A key member of the Celtics’ Big 3 alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Allen helped lead Boston to a championship in their first season together in 2008.
But Allen opted to walk away from the Celtics after a turbulent season, during which he was secretly frustrated with trade rumors in February, issues with colleague Rajon Rondo, and an ankle injury that ultimately required surgery last month to get rid of bone spurs. Allen confirmed that there were “differences” with squad in general, but did not mention Rondo by name.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat made acquiring Allen their top concern to add depth to a fringe rotation that includes Shane Battier, Mike Miller and James Jones. Riley claimed that Miller, who was hobbled by back issues late last season, is lined up to meet up with doctors again this week to determine whether surgery is mandatory.
Lewis, a 14-year veteran, has been slowed by injuries every one of the past 2 seasons and has been on a steady decline since 2009, when he helped the Orlando Magic reach the NBA Finals, where they lost to the L.A Lakers.
A combination of problems with both knees and a thigh limited Lewis to a reduced role in Washington, but the 6-foot-10 forward has averaged 16.1 points and 5.6 rebounds over his career. Lewis hopes that playing with Miami’s elite playmakers – controlled by James, the regular-season and Finals MVP – will help restore his productivity.