Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (34) warms up before game five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
It may have been easy to miss since we don’t have our “own” team on the Riverfront, but the NBA preseason tipped off this week, and the hoops news mill is starting to pick up speed. Two brewing stories in particular hold some local interest: Frank Vogel signed a multi-year extension with the Indiana Pacers, and we’re hearing conflicting reports about whether or not Ray Allen will join LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The timing of the Vogel extension is somewhat curious, given that the Pacers are very much in an uncertain situation as the new season dawns. Team president Larry Bird let free agent Lance Stephenson walk this summer, and then Paul George broke his leg in exhibition play and will miss the season. The general feeling around this team is that making the playoffs would be a major coup, but that sliding into the hunt for a lottery pick is a distinct possibility.
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This season thus shapes up a something of a free pass for Vogel, so the Pacers could have deferred on making a long-term decision. Bird has always been a “vision” type of leader, though, so he evidently sees Vogel as a key component for the Pacers to recover quickly from what figures to be a tough year or so.
Allen, meanwhile, has been rumored to be headed to Cleveland since the summer began, yet he remains on the sideline to this point. Although the scuttlebutt early this week had Allen signed and delivered, the veteran’s agent says that Allen is still weighing retirement. The guess here is that Allen will ultimately find the pull of LeBron, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and a likely trip to the NBA Finals to be too much to pass up. At some point before it gets really cold, Ray Allen will be playing by the lake.