MIAMI - And so the Miami Heat have added another shooter.
The speculation ended when future Hall of Fame guard Ray Allen agreed Friday night to join the Heat, a move that will become official once free agents can sign July 11. Team owner Micky Arison was the first to break news when he posted this on Twitter account at 9:30 p.m.
"Its 2:30am in London and I was just woken up with great news. Welcome to the family #20!!," Arison tweeted.
He was referring to Allen, who has worn the number while playing for the Boston Celtics. Allen spent the past five seasons in Boston, where he teamed with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to win a championship in 2008. He now joins another strong core that includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Celtics made a strong pitch to keep Allen, offering $6 million. The Celtics, who lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, also signed Garnett to a three-year deal while acquiring veteran guard Jason Terry from the Dallas Mavericks.
The salary was twice the amount Miami could afford, but Allen met with team president Pat Riley Thursday and Friday. In the end, he decided to take the Heat's $3.09 million taxpayers' midlevel exception and the lure of winning another NBA title.
The addition of Allen bolsters the Heat's strong collection of shooters that already includes Mike Miller, James Jones, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers. Allen, who will enter his 17th season, is the NBA's career leader in 3-point field goals made.
The Heat have courted Allen since the free agency period began. Both James and Wade also took to Twitter to discuss the possibility of Allen joining them to help defend the title.
Allen's name even came up during Friday's Team USA practice in Las Vegas. James was asked by reporters about the possibility of Allen coming aboard. James said he had spoken to Riley, who said their meeting "went well."
"Everyone in Miami, including myself, would love to have Ray a part of the team," James told the reporters before it was announced. "We'll see. He would be a great addition to our team for sure. All-time leader in 3-pointers made, he's a champion, we'd love to have him. He would fit right in with us."
Despite losing his starting job to Avery Bradley late last season, Allen still proved he was a valuable reserve. He averaged 14.2 points and shot 45 percent from 3-point range. Part of the reason for Allen's benching was because he battled painful bone spurs in his right ankle.
He expressed disappointment to coach Doc Rivers of coming off the bench, but it was evident he was hampered by the injury. Allen shot 37 percent from the field and an uncharacteristic 77 percent from the foul line in the conference finals, which Miami won in seven games.
He has since undergone successful surgery to repair the damage.
The news means the Heat could cancel scheduled meetings with free agents Marcus Camby and Rashard Lewis, who were supposed to visit Saturday and Sunday. The possibility of signing both was considered a backup plan if Allen decided to return to Boston.
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