There is still no decision by Ray Allen regarding the next team he plays for and it seems the Chicago Bulls are also entering the race for the services of the shooting guard, hoping that the conditions and the personnel they have to offer will be a bit more appealing than those of other teams going after Allen, including the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs.
Allen, 39, is currently weighing his decision on whether to come back for a 19th NBA season or retire after playing in the league since 1996 and winning two NBA championships with the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.
Following LeBron James leaving the Heat, many have figured Allen will do the same and join the Cleveland Cavaliers. James’ arrival in Cleveland has helped convince Mike Miller and Shawn Marion to sign as free agents while Kevin Love has arrived via trade. But the Bulls have also made quite a few changes this summer, hoping it’s enough not just to challenge for the Eastern crown, but also to help convince a free agent like Allen to join.
Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Aaron Brooks and Doug McDermott are the new faces on a team that hasn’t been past the conference semifinals in the last three years, which has a lot to do with Derrick Rose’s injuries getting in the way of all that success. The Bulls have been especially struggling with outside shooting, hoping that McDermott will help solve that problem, and obviously adding Allen, a career 40% shooter from beyond the arc (37.5% last season), will be another boost to a team that has struggled spacing the floor quite often in recent seasons.
Allen is the league’s all-time leader in made 3-pointers. He averaged 9.6 points per game last season for the Heat, his second year in a sixth man role. He’ll probably play less than the 26-25 minutes a night he’s gotten used to over the last two seasons, and yet he has shown he can still be a vital part of a successful franchise despite his age and his problems on helping out defensively. Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls’ head coach, was an assistant on the Celtics team that won the title in 2008.
With not anything really special in the free agency market left for teams to pick up, Ray Allen joining someone other than the Cleveland Cavaliers might help balance out what might turn out to be a very one-sided year in the conference.