By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ After deciding to bring back Boston’s aging Big Three for another run at the NBA title, Danny Ainge knew he needed to surround it with more talent.
The Celtics general manager settled on former Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Jason Terry as one of the key pieces. Terry has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal for $15 million that is only waiting for the NBA’s moratorium on free agent signings to be lifted on July 11 for the deal to be finalized.
Terry, who is one of the league’s top 3-point shooters, would not keep the Celtics from bringing back Ray Allen. Allen, 36, has also met with the Miami Heat, but salary cap rules allow Boston to offer him more money.
“We really want Ray to come back,” Ainge said this week.
“Time will tell.”
That would keep the Big Three intact to try for a second NBA championship– the 18th for the league’s most-decorated franchise. Paul Pierce is under contract for two more years and Rajon Rondo for three.
Ainge nearly dealt away Allen, the top 3-point shooter in NBA history, at the trading deadline in a deal that would have signaled the end of the partnership that led the Celtics to the 2008 championship. The same group returned to the NBA Finals in 2010, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.
After the Celtics lost to the eventual champion Miami Heat in seven games in this year’s Eastern Conference finals, Ainge waited for Garnett to decide if he wanted to retire and considered rebuilding with a younger roster. But the 6-foot-11 future Hall of Famer agreed to terms on a three-year, $34.5 million deal he can sign next Wednesday.
Terry, who is 34, doesn’t make the Celtics much younger– especially not if Allen returns. But he gives them depth they
needed when Allen was hobbled with bone spurs in his ankle.
The 2009 NBA Sixth Man of the Year and a member of the Mavericks team that won it all in 2011, Terry came off the bench to average 15 points per game for Dallas last season. In his career, he has averaged 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Over five years with Atlanta and eight with Dallas, Terry is a career 38 percent 3-point shooter who has made 1,788 of them over his career– fourth-most in NBA history. (Allen is first, with 2,718.)
During the 2011 postseason, Terry was the Mavericks’ No. 2 scorer, averaging 17.5 points per game, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 27 points in all in Dallas’ Game 6 victory to clinch its first NBA title.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)