POSTED: Jun 28, 2013 6:58 PM ET
MIAMI (AP) — Ray Allen is returning to the Miami Heat next season.
Allen exercised his $3.2 million player option Friday, barely a week after the Heat finished off the San Antonio Spurs to win the NBA Finals in seven games. Allen made one of the biggest shots in Heat history, a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the finals to tie the game and force an overtime where Miami ultimately prevailed.
Allen turns 38 next month, yet still played in 102 games during the regular season and playoffs for Miami. That was the most appearances by any player in the league this past season.
Ray Allen at Celebration
Teammates, coaches and the Heat front office all made it clear to Allen that he was wanted back for next season.
Allen left Miami following the end-of-season team meeting on Tuesday without giving the organization an answer, though didn't keep people waiting much longer. He could have elected to become a free agent and wound up getting more years and more money in a new deal, and decided to stay with the Heat anyway.
Allen averaged 10.9 points in the regular season, and 10.2 points in the playoffs.
With the team exercising its option on starting point guard Mario Chalmers, and with Rashard Lewis and James Jones exercising their rights to stay for next season, the next major course of business for the Heat will be trying to woo Chris Andersen to stay when he becomes a free agent next week. Teammates believe Andersen, who has remained in Miami since the championship and is working out, wants to return to the Heat next season.
The Heat will also have a large luxury-tax bill next season, though team president Pat Riley said earlier this week that he has not been given a mandate to pare a player like Mike Miller or Joel Anthony to relieve some of that burden. Riley's hope is to bring the roster back as intact as possible.