Heat, Clippers pulling at Allen

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Could this be the end of Ray Allen's time in Boston?While the Celtics still contend they still want Ray Allen back, it appears his services could be turning into a tug-of-war between LeBron James and Chris Paul. From ESPN.com's Brian Windohorst:

James and Paul are the closest of friends, but they will be at cross purposes over the next few days. They are recruiting against each other for the services of Ray Allen.

Allen hasn’t ruled out re-signing with the Boston Celtics, who have made him a strong monetary offer, but signs are pointing to Allen choosing between James' Miami Heat and Paul's Los Angeles Clippers.

On Thursday, the Heat will host Allen for a visit as they try to persuade him to accept less money and perhaps a lesser role to join their bid to repeat as champions. Friday, Allen is scheduled to visit the Clippers, who have more money to offer and a clear role as the starting shooting guard.

James and Paul, sources said, have been actively recruiting Allen to join their respective teams. Earlier this week, James tweeted a photo of Allen wearing a Heat uniform. Wednesday, Dwyane Wade sent out a tweet describing Thursday as a big day for the franchise.

As with virtually every free agent, money and role are said to be at the top of Allen’s list of priorities. All three options are with teams that consider themselves title contenders.

The Celtics, perhaps for public relations purposes, have made it known that their offer to retain Allen is two years for a total of $12 million. That is twice what the Heat can offer per year via the taxpayer mid-level, which starts at $3 million. Miami, however, could offer Allen up to three years at that figure to cut the overall cash difference in half.

The Clippers have their entire $5 million mid-level exception available. They could give Allen three years and trump the overall value of the Celtics’ current offer and the Heat’s best offer.

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