Soon after stepping off the double-decker buses that carried them through the city for Monday's championship parade, the Miami Heat quickly shifted their focus to keeping Ray Allen on board for another title run. Allen, the most prolific 3-point shooter in NBA history, could opt out of the second year of his two-year contract by this weekend and test free agency next month. The Heat have made bringing back Allen, 37, their initial offseason priority after the 17-year veteran helped to save Miami's title hopes with a clutch 3-pointer to send Game 6 of the NBA Finals against San Antonio into overtime. The Heat beat the Spurs in Game 7 to complete their rally from a 3-2 series deficit to win the title. "I put the bug in his ear in the shower after the game," Heat forward and co-captain Udonis Haslem said Monday, referring to a conversation he had with Allen after Game 7 on Thursday. "I told him, 'I'm not going to put no pressure on you. I'm not going to ask you what you're going to do. But just know that I'm thinking about what you're going to do.' " Haslem said Allen didn't offer a response as the Heat celebrated their second consecutive championship. "I don't know if that's good or bad," Haslem said. Monday was the first time the entire team was back together at AmericanAirlines Arena since Game 7. But there was plenty of discussion during Monday's parade and rally inside the arena about keeping the team intact for a shot a third straight title run next season. That, however, stands to be an expensive proposition for the Heat, as the luxury-tax penalties stiffen significantly for next season. The Heat will be facing a potential luxury-tax penalty that could range from $14 million-$28 million next season for excessively exceeding the league's salary cap. Miami has about $80 million in salary commitments for next season, which doesn't include a $4 million team option to bring back starting point guard Mario Chalmers. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will give Allen a few days of space before outright trying to convince him to stay. But Spoelstra said the Heat began their recruiting pitch in earnest Monday by allowing Allen to see the impact he has on their success as they all relived the postseason run. "We think the ultimate recruiting pitch is what we just did," Spoelstra said. "But we won't take that for granted. There will certainly be communication between us and Ray. He was such an important piece of what we did. We think even if it was just that one shot, it was worth it. There were so many things that he provided. And he fit. His personality fit. His professionalism fit. He helped guys get better."
Heat want Ray Allen to return
ESPN | Jun 24