Ray Allen hasn’t signed in the NBA for two seasons before officially announcing his retirement before the season. Talks about him coming back to the NBA to join forces with LeBron James in Cleveland (or just generally coming back into the NBA) has surfaced but never materialized. In an interview with ESPN’s The Jump, Allen revealed the real reason why.
“Most of the inquiries I have received were how ready am I to accept my role as a veteran and sit on the bench and mentor the young guys,” Allen said. “I’d love to do that, it comes naturally to me, but I do want to play. I want to be able to come on the floor and earn whatever minutes I may have gotten. I didn’t know if that was possible, so I didn’t want to be sitting on a team and say, ‘What did I get myself into?'”
The ironic thing is that Allen is probably selling himself short. The biggest part of his game, drilling 3-pointers with incredible accuracy, would translate perfectly to just about any team. Even if he wasn’t willing to only mentor young guys, he almost certainly could’ve found a role somewhere. He could have been the difference maker on a team looking for a final offensive piece and a veteran presence.
“It’s fun to watch because it’s not just Golden State, it’s not just Cleveland,” he said. “You see Toronto playing that way, you see Phoenix playing that way, Milwaukee and so many other teams playing that way. The 3-point line has become a huge premium and bigs shoot the three now. The game has certainly evolved. I do envy it, it looks fun and I could definitely play in it.”
Here is the full interview with Rachel Nichols:
Allen played 19 seasons in the league, 1,300 games, and averaged 18.9 points per game throughout the course of his career. Heprior to the start of this season at the age of 41. Whether he returned to the NBA for one final go ’round or not, he’ll still go down as one of the best shooters in the history of the league.