Where do you go when you’re an aging NBA star looking for one last shot at a title?
You make a beeline to the last team to win one and agree to take a massive pay cut for the chance to win a ring. Or you could just follow Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. They’ll be glad to show you the way.
Allen and Lewis officially signed with the defending champion Miami Heat on Wednesday, adding more firepower to an already potent lineup.
Both took considerable pay cuts to join the Heat. Allen’s deal is worth just over $3 million for next season — barely half of what the Celtics offered the 36-year-old to return to Boston. Lewis will make $1.35 on his Heat contract along with the $13.7 million still owed him by the New Orleans Hornets.
Neither player cast any illusions regarding his motives.
“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,” the 32-year-old Lewis said Wednesday during his introductory press conference. “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 gray hair on my head.”
Miami rode its ‘Big 3’ of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to the first of what many expect will be multiple titles last season. And with the experience and perimeter threat provided by Allen and Lewis, knocking them off just got considerably more difficult.
Allen — the NBA’s all-time leader for career three-pointers made — averaged 14.2 in 46 games for the Celtics last season. Lewis played just 28 games for Washington due to a left knee injury. He averaged 7.8 points.
“Whatever’s going to be best for me in this situation is going to figure itself out,” Allen said Wednesday. “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.”
While the rest of the league is still fixated on the ‘Big 3’ trend, the Heat may have just built their own ‘Big 4.’