Commentary

Ray Allen remains in Boston

Updated: February 19, 2010, 12:57 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

LOS ANGELES -- After a month of speculation, Ray Allen remains a member of the Boston Celtics as Thursday's trade deadline passed without the team making a franchise-altering move.

Allen, who is making $18.7 million in the final year of a five-year extension he signed in Seattle, had been the subject of a steady stream of trade rumors, but in the end, the Celtics settled for only a minor move -- shipping Eddie House to the New York Knicks in a five-player swap that brings Nate Robinson to Boston -- and left the aging Big Three intact for at least one more push at a championship.

Allen admitted Thursday that it was a relief to not have to deal with the barrage of "Are you being traded to Team A?" or "I hear you're going to Team B?" questions from family and friends who constantly heard his name involved in all sorts of trade proposals.

[+] EnlargeRay Allen
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty ImagesWith the trade deadline passed, Ray Allen can breathe a sigh of relief knowing he's staying in Boston.

Allen, who vacationed in the Bahamas over All-Star weekend, even took to Twitter to offer his thoughts after a rumor suggested he might be traded to the Washington Wizards as part of a deal for Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison.

In the end, he's in Boston, where he's said he wants to be. And Thursday night Allen made the Celtics glad they kept him, hitting 10 of his first 11 shots, scoring 24 points, and making a key stop on the Lakers' Derek Fisher on the final play of an 87-86 win at Los Angeles.

But it was nevertheless a bittersweet day for Allen. As he gained clarity about his own short-term future, he lamented the loss of House, a good friend, seemingly recognizing it easily could have been him.

"We're sad to see Eddie go because he's a brother of ours," said Allen. "We won a championship together, so we're forever connected. He's a good dude and an integral part of the team. My heart goes out to him. He really wanted to be here to help us do what we're trying to do and win a championship this year. But it's a business."

Allen, who's been traded twice in his career, added: "The next two weeks are the toughest part for anyone with family. You have to reorganize your structure. And then you have to go out on the court and readjust [with a new team]."

Allen understands why his name had been brought up in trade talks, but said it's not something that kept him up at night. Even so, his teammates admitted it can't help but bring a sense of relief to a player to know that the speculation is over.

"You can't worry about anything like that, but as a player, it's comfortable knowing that you're here for the rest of the season," said Glen Davis, whose name was the subject of a trade rumor with Charlotte. "It's about staying focused on what we need to do as a team."

While the 34-year-old Allen has struggled this season, averaging 16 points per game, his lowest output since his rookie season, and shooting a career-worst 33.3 percent from 3-point land, he remains a valuable presence on the court and in the Boston locker room. Despite his age, Allen is second to only 23-year-old Rajon Rondo in minutes (averaging 36.6 through 50 games).

Perhaps the security of knowing he's staying in Boston will help Allen break out of his shooting slump.

Battling back spasms that sidelined him for the final game before the All-Star break in New Orleans, Allen is shooting just 42.5 percent in February (he's at 44.7 for the season, which is nearly identical to his 44.8 percent career average) and 28.6 percent from behind the arc.

After the season, the Celtics must decide if Allen is in their future plans as he'll be an unrestricted free agent. Allen previously expressed a strong desire to stay in Boston, even if it meant taking less money and having a reduced role. As a Bird's Rights player, the Celtics can sign Allen without his salary counting against the salary cap, which might give them extra incentive to sign him to a team-friendly deal.

If the Celtics and Allen part ways in the offseason, the team cannot simply reappropriate his salary to another player as they will be up against the salary cap already. Whether or not Allen returns, Boston's biggest offseason chip figures to be the mid-level exception.

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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