The Miami Heat have scored another free-agent coup, convincing Ray Allen to leave a richer offer from the Boston Celtics and agree to sign with the defending champions, agent Jim Tanner told ESPN.com.
The Heat felt positive about the presentation they made to Allen over several hours in a meeting on Thursday in Miami, sources said, but Allen flew back to his home in Connecticut to mull over the decision. He informed both teams Friday night of his decision.
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It is believed Allen will accept the Heat’s mid-level exception that starts at $3.09 million and could be worth a maximum of $9.5 million over three seasons.
“#HeatNation please welcome our newest teammate Ray Allen #Wow #JesusShuttlesworth,” LeBron James tweeted Friday night.
Boston, where Allen had played for the past five seasons and won a championship in 2008, had offered Allen a two-year deal at double the salary for $12 million plus a no-trade clause.
Heat owner Micky Arison celebrated the news by tweeting, “Its 2:30am in London and I was just woken up with great news. Welcome to the family #20.”
A person briefed on details of the decision told The Associated Press that Arison got the word from Heat president Pat Riley, who made Allen the team’s top free-agent priority — especially in recent days. Allen, who will be 37 this month, arrived in Miami on Thursday for a visit, went to dinner with Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra, team executive Alonzo Mourning and others Thursday night, then left Friday to presumably decide his future.
Hours later, the choice was made. Allen’s agent, James Tanner, confirmed the decision to The Associated Press not long after Arison’s tweet.
Allen cannot officially sign until Wednesday because of the league’s moratorium.
According to multiple league sources, Allen had become frustrated during last season when the Celtics offered him up in trade talks and then stripped him of his starting job in favor of the younger Avery Bradley. Allen, who averaged 11.9 points and shot 35 percent on 3-pointers in the Eastern Conference finals loss to the Heat, also had a deteriorating relationship with point guard Rajon Rondo.
Earlier this week, the Celtics got a commitment from free-agent shooting guard Jason Terry, though the team pitched Allen that they two could play together.
The Heat’s offer to Allen centered on playing with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a variety of lineups.
“HeatNation continues to grow,” Wade wrote on Twitter late Friday night.
The all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 2,718, Allen joins an already deep group of wing players. But with Mike Miller considering back surgery and Wade scheduled for minor knee surgery next week, the Heat felt getting more depth was a priority.
Allen had surgery last month to remove bone spurs from his ankle but he is expected to be healthy in time for the start of training camp.
The Heat are not done with free agency — they still have three roster spots and are hosting veteran free-agent big men Marcus Camby and Rashard Lewis for visits over the weekend.
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They can only offer each the $1.4 million veteran’s minimum salary to sign them outright. But it is possible they could work out a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets for Camby if he wants to sign in Miami. Both players have other suitors — Camby has a visit with the New York Knicks scheduled for Sunday.
The Celtics have been one of the most active teams in free agency, agreeing to new deals with Kevin Garnett, Terry and Brandon Bass, and remaining in deep talks with Jeff Green.
With Allen choosing the Heat, the Celtics still have $6 million in salary-cap space they can offer to other free agents.