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7.19.2008

Let's Trade Ray Allen

Speaking of the Cleveland series, how eerie is it to watch replays of Ray Allen sitting on the bench for most of the fourth quarter in game 7?

He was sitting not due to injury or foul trouble, but instead due to his series-long struggles on the offensive end.

Ray Allen turns 33 tomorrow.

That's old in shooting guard years. The number of guards who continued to consistently perform at a high level after reaching that age can be counted on one hand.

So should we dump him? If your answer is "yes," there is certainly no shortage of Celtics fans who agree with you, at least if you visit enough Celtics messages boards.

I agree with these folks to a small extent. I say we should listen to any offers. We should always listen.

But unless someone is offering the reincarnation of Hakeem Olajuwon, no, we shouldn't dump him.

Here's why.

He absolutely destroyed the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, providing credible evidence that the end his career will more closely mirror the end of Reggie Miller's career than it will the end of Mitch Richmond's. On top of his record setting three-point Finals onslaught, Ray Allen was also the first player who took the lead when Pierce went down with an injury in game 1, strengthening my belief that, as a Celtic, Jesus affirmatively suppresses the 25-30 point performances until he needs to pull one off the shelf for immediate use.

Even when he's off his shooting game, moreover, he usually fills up the box score with rebounds, assists, and even points (though obviously his shooting percentage in these instances isn't high). Equally important, he always draws attention because of the threat he presents, whether he's having a good or bad game. Defenses can't leave Ray Allen alone without worrying about the cost of doing so, and a closely guarded Ray Allen opens up the offense for the rest of the team.

Ray Allen is also

--largely responsible for improving the quality of Rajon Rondo's jump shot

--the classiest guy to wear a Celtics uniform for as long as I can remember

--a walking fount of basketball wisdom that he freely dispenses to his teammates

Once Ray Allen finishes out this contract, there is a good chance he re-ups on the cheap and agrees to come off the bench as instant offense, exactly the kind of guy every contender would love to have.

The Big Three play with an unmistakable chemistry, a chemistry that seemed to yield acceptable results last year.

So while I would listen to trade offers, it's just hard for me to fathom any offer that would pique my interest.

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