Barry on D&H: Pierce and Allen have ‘mileage’
|07.01.10 at 12:27 pm ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Jon Barry joined the Dale & Holley show Thursday on the first day of the free-agency period in the NBA and discussed the Celtics’ two biggest free agents, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. He said that both players have some “mileage” on them and that although Boston wants to bring the pair back, it should be cautious before jumping right in and signing each.
“I know Boston’s a great organization, and I know they want these two guys back,” Barry said. “They’d love to make a run with the same team and see if they can do it again. But you have to use your head and decide whether these guys can get you back to that level.”
Barry also dished on who he thinks has the best shot at LeBron James—he says it’s the Bulls—and just how bad it would be for Cleveland if it lost its King.
“They’ll win no more than 28, maybe 30,” he said. “They’ll be devastated. This guy means absolutely everything to this team. It’d be horrendous. Cleveland’s gone through so many hardships throughout the years with all their teams, but nothing can get worse than this. This would absolutely ruin this franchise.”
Some highlights from that interview are below. To hear the interview in its entirety, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Does Doc Rivers coming back help the Celtics have a chance at getting back to where they were halfway through Game 7?
Well, I honestly didn’t think they’d get into Game 7 this year. You saw this team. They were 27-27 in the last 54 games. This is a team that no one thought would have gotten to the finals. I didn’t write them off just because of their championship pedigree and the guys they have on this roster. I think that’s what made it so attractive for Doc to come back that it’s an intriguing group, it’s a different group. I think it’s a really special group that he has there. You think about what they’ve done. They put this together. They got a title in the first year that Garnett and Allen come in. If Kevin Garnett’s not hurt last year, they have a real good opportunity to win again. Then this year, they have a 13-point lead in the second half of an NBA finals Game 7. You’re talking about a team that was on the cusp of winning three straight NBA titles so I guess to him that’s something attractive to come back and give it one more try.
What is the perception around the league of Paul Pierce?
I would just say aging. Two years ago when they won this thing, he was the best player in the playoffs. He outplayed Kobe Bryant. He outplayed LeBron James. He was the best player in the playoffs bar none. He was unbelievable. Just saw some chinks in the armor this year. He got banged up. He got injured. Looked to me to be a tired player at the end of the season last year. Quite frankly, I’d say Ron Artest outplayed him in Games 6 and 7, which I would have never thought possible. So he’s an aging guy. I think he’s only 31, but he just seems to have a lot of mileage on him. You know, an aging superstar. He’s still a superstar player though.
How about Ray Allen? How do you see him at this point?
Well, I saw Ray in Game 2 go 8-of-11 from the 3-point line and the other six games make 4-of-30 I think if my math is correct. I was shocked. Again, you hit a point in your career where you’re just not the same. A ton of mileage on Ray as well, and it proved to be chasing Kobe Bryant around on the defensive end of the floor hurt his offensive game because he couldn’t make shots. A lot of the shots we’ve seen him make year after year, game after game, and he was unable to do that.
So who’s to say what these guys can bring to the table. There’s a loyalty part to it. I know Boston’s a great organization, and I know they want these two guys back. They’d love to make a run with the same team and see if they can do it again. But you have to use your head and decide whether these guys can get you back to that level.
Where is LeBron James playing next year?
If I had to say right now today, I’d have to say he goes to Chicago. That seems to make the most sense. He doesn’t have a problem being in Michael Jordan’s shadow. To me, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, I think if they can get one more player, which they will be able to do with their salary cap number, he and another guy, he and Bosh, he and Stoudemire, whatever combination you want, I think that makes the most sense. I think New York is a step back. New Jersey’s a step back. Cleveland now, if they’re unable to get anybody, they’re the fourth- or fifth-best talent in the East. I just think Chicago makes a lot of sense.
How many games do you think the Cavs win without LeBron James?
They’ll win no more than 28, maybe 30. They’ll be devastated. This guy means absolutely everything to this team. It’d be horrendous. Cleveland’s gone through so many hardships throughout the years with all their teams, but nothing can get worse than this. This would absolutely ruin this franchise. Hopefully, for them, he goes back because the league will be fine for it. Cleveland deserves it. It’s a great city. They deserve to have LeBron, and if he doesn’t go back, boy is it going to be ugly.
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