Ainge hopes to bring back Allen

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Wednesday that bringing back free agent guard Ray Allen and keeping the nucleus of the Celtics together would be his preference, particularly after coming up just short of a world title this past season.

"I think that is the most likely scenario," Ainge said on Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM) when asked about re-signing the soon-to-be 35-year-old Allen. "We love Ray. We know Ray has basketball left in him. We have to make wise financial decisions knowing that Ray is going to have other options, but also knowing that Ray has basketball left in him. He's a difference maker in us winning or losing."

Allen earned $19.8 million in the final year of an extension he signed with Seattle before being traded to Boston on draft night in 2007. He'll likely have to take a significant paycut to stay with the Celtics.

Following last week's Game 7 NBA Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Allen said he'd like to return to the C's.

"I'll deal with that when the time comes, but it's obvious that I don't want to be anywhere else," said Allen, who labored through 3-of-14 shooting, scoring 13 points in 45 minutes in Game 7.

Asked later if Boston could replicate its postseason success next year with the same aging core, Allen said, "I don't see why not."

Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.