ASK IRA: Has Ray Allen turned into an opportunist?

Q: Now the Clippers and Spurs, in addition to the Cavs (so called "elite teams"), are showing interest in signing Ray Allen. I hope Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and their Heat teammates have a great season and make the Miami Heat an elite team. Somehow I remember that the minute Ray Allen came on the court for the Miami Heat last season, the opposing teams went right at Ray on defense, which contributed to the Heat's fall off on defense. -- Stuart.

A: But he also gave the Heat the single greatest moment in franchise history. The difference between LeBron James leaving and Dwyane Wade staying is that Ray already has shifted between teams, so it's not as if there is a definitive loyalty either to a certain team or certain town. Having already played in Seattle, Milwaukee, Boston and Miami, it's not as if another team would damage his legacy. And frankly, he likely could have more impact elsewhere. As for his defense, much of that was offset by attracting the attention of the opposition on offense, no matter his 3-point percentage. No matter how this ends with the Heat, he should always be remembered fondly for what he allowed the franchise to achieve.

Q: I'm not going to debate Shannon Brown with you, because I can't remember seeing him last season. But I do know he has the same contract as Rodney Stuckey. So did someone fall asleep at the switch? -- Bertram.

A: First there is the issue of guaranteed money, with Brown reportedly getting none, as opposed to the guarantee offered Stuckey by the Pacers. But I agree that with the Heat out of the luxury tax, that such minimal funding no longer should be an overriding concern. The difference is Stuckey saw an opportunity to move into the Pacers' starting lineup, in the wake of Lance Stephenson's departure to the Hornets, likely making him more amenable to such a salary in Indiana. With the Heat, he would have lined up no better than a backcourt reserve. What I would say is that if Pat Riley knew LeBron James was leaving, I think you would have seen a significantly different approach to the Heat's offseason.

Q: Is there a chance Wade could return to his prime form? He isn't that old, right? -- Joe, Tallahassee.

A: He turns 33 in January, which is not exactly young for a player whose game is based on explosion. Basically this is when we will see how much Kobe Bryant, how much defiance to age, Wade has in him.