WALTHAM Ray Allen remains the lone question mark when it comes to whether or not the Celtics Big Three will be re-booted once again, now five editions in the books.
Whether there will be a version 6.0 hinges heavily on whether Allen returns.
Although Allen reportedly has "interest" in playing for the Miami Heat, he apparently has interest in returning to the only team he has won a title with, too.
Multiple league sources contacted this week indicated that Allen's "interest" in the Heat has been overblown.
"They will definitely be a player for him," one source said. "But you're talking about one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game who keeps himself in excellent shape. NBA execs all know he's only going to play for a team that can compete for a championship. So it makes sense for the champs (Heat) to have interest, and for him to have some interest in them as well."
Said another source, "He's too smart to commit to any team this early in the game. Ray's going to listen to what folks have to say, and go from there."
Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has had conversations with Allen since the Celtics' season ended.
In describing those conversations, Ainge said they were, "Just sort of what his hopes and future are, what he thinks of our team, would he like to come back, all those type of things."
Ainge, who said that the two have not had any contract-specific discussions, added, "I think Ray's open to coming back. I won't get into details . . . we've talked so I have a feel for where his head is."
Apparently Ainge must have been comfortable with what Allen had to say.
"On July 1, we'll talk more to Ray (about a possible return)," Ainge said.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers feels comfortable with Ainge doing whatever he deems necessary to make the C's a better team.
But Rivers has been steady in his preference that the Celtics bring back Allen in addition to the team's top priority, Kevin Garnett.
When asked about reports that indicated the NBA champion Miami Heat were interested in Allen, Rivers responded, "I think you'll hear that and probably 10 other teams. If they don't have interest in him, then they're crazy. But we have interest, too."