The Wizards would prefer to keep their 15th and final roster open but they'd quickly change gears for Ray Allen. The team contacted the 39-year-old shooting guard early in the free agent process to gauge his interest in signing, CSNwashington.com has confirmed with two people with knowledge of the situation Tuesday.
Allen, however, has yet to notify his agent, Jim Tanner, if he intends to even play a 19th NBA season. The shooting guard averaged a career low 9.6 points per game with the Miami Heat last season before becoming a free agent.
Still, Allen can be a valuable role player on the right team and it makes sense for the Wizards to at least put their name in the conversation. Behind Bradley Beal, they could use another shooter to stretch the floor when he goes out and to improve the Wizards' mid-range accuracy. Plus, coach Randy Wittman's offensive scheme would seem to fit a shooter such as Allen who'd get clean looks from on corners threes.
Allen accepts coming off the bench and averaged 26.5 minutes per game last season. Would he take a veteran minimum one-year deal for $1.4 million, or something in that range? The Wizards wouldn't have much more than that to offer. Allen will have suitors with championship potential interested in him such as the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Allen was drafted No. 5 overall in 1996 by the Minnesota Timberwolves and acquired by the Milwaukee Bucks that same night for Stephon Marbury. Ernie Grunfeld, now president of the Wizards, became GM of the Bucks a few years after Allen's arrival.
He spent 2007-12 with the Boston Celtics where he went to the NBA Finals twice and won a championship with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. While Garnett held a grudge against Allen for leaving to play with Miami, Pierce, who signed as a free agent with the Wizards this summer, is on good terms with him.
Allen coming to D.C. is a long shot at best, and the Wizards anticipate having the final roster spot open when the regular season opens to give them flexibility to make a move in season. They're not required to have 15 players under contract.
Since the initial feeler sent out by the Wizards, there hasn't been any follow-up contact with Allen or his representation, CSNwashington.com has been told. But Tuesday, it was made clear that the Wizards will keep the door open with that 15th spot in hopes of Allen, or a veteran of his caliber and skill set, walking through it.