The Heat’s pitchman went to work again immediately after Game 7 of the NBA Finals had ended.
In the postgame showers, Udonis Haslem already started laying the groundwork for a three-peat.
Haslem found Ray Allen and “put a bug in his ear.”
“I told him, ‘I’m not going to put pressure on you, I’m not going to ask you what you going to do, but just know I’m thinking about what you going to do,” Haslem joked after Monday’s championship parade through Miami.
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“That’s all I told him … and I just left it at that.”
“He didn’t say nothing. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”
Chris Bosh doesn’t think it’s good or bad. He thinks it’s a pointless discussion. In Bosh’s opinion, Allen has no choice but to return.
“We can make quotes all day, but he’s coming back,” Bosh said. “I mean, there’s really nothing to say. We respect each other’s space, but there’s one decision to make. So, it’s easy.”
And, suddenly, the three-peat seemed to get a little easier Monday as the Heat capped off its celebration with a parade down Calle Ocho and up Brickell and Biscayne boulevards. Allen served as the Heat’s de facto sixth-man this season and served several roles, including three-point shooting and backing up Dwyane Wade.
Of course, Bosh’s hunch is just that. Allen has been mostly noncommittal about whether he’s sticking around or leaving. Of course, if Allen cares at all about getting another title in his 18th season, then remaining in Miami is probably his best bet.
“I think we have all the influence,” Bosh said. “Guys want to come back. I don’t think it’s any situation in the world better than what we have right now, and I think that speaks for itself, really.
“We have guys that are going to have to make decisions and we know that, it’s a part of the business, but guys want to come back.”
The Heat is staring at a monumental task next season of trying to repeat as back-to-back-to-back champions and that challenge becomes more difficult if key pieces like Allen and Chris Andersen bolt for bigger paychecks.
Of course, Allen already took less money to come to Miami, so leaving for more cash would be out of character. He said he preferred coming off the bench and gushed about the Heat’s professionalism and chemistry, something he didn’t have at times in Boston.
For example, Allen was profoundly impressed by Wade and LeBron James’ idea to produce a “Harlem Shake” video during the dog days of the season to break up the monotony. The video was talked about prominently throughout the rally and the day ended with the video playing on the big screen inside the arena.
“One of our biggest moments of the season was the Harlem Shake video,” Allen said.
And then there’s that business about saving Game 6 and the Finals. Allen called his three-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter the biggest shot of his career. It’s probably hard to walk away from that memory after a one-year mercenary assignment.
Although Allen has been mostly mum about his plans for next season, Andersen dropped a big hint on Monday that he’s leaning toward staying. During the day’s celebration rally for season-ticket holders inside the arena, Andersen said during an on-camera interview that he was ready to help “get a three-peat next year.”
“He loves it here,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s been embraced by the team, by the fans, by the organization. We wanted Chris for several years, and he knows that. We tried for the last four or five years.
“The most important part is both sides want each other. The other aspect will be on Andy Elisburg’s desk of being creative and making things happen.”
Elisburg, the Heat’s assistant general manager and senior vice president of business operations, is the team’s numbers cruncher and it’s his difficult task of making it all work for next season. Meanwhile, Haslem will be busy working on the Heat’s retention rate.
“I’m going to be in [Andersen’s] ear but at the end of the day, ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s going to be up to him,” Haslem said. “And whatever he has to consider, I’ll fully support that decision, but I want him back, we want him back. He was a tremendous boost for us, and we’re probably not sitting here without the addition of Birdman.”