June 9, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen during the post game press conference after game seven of the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference finals at the American Airlines Arena. The Miami Heat defeated the Celtics 101-88. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Free Agency Rumors: Ray Allen top priority for Miami Heat, Steve Nash to Toronto?

The Miami Heat have made it clear they are going to do everything they can to get Ray Allen to sign with them.

Free agency begins tonight at midnight and the Heat want to move fast to get Allen, before other teams are more prepared to possibly pursue Allen as well.

“We’ve got five or six guys earmarked (in free agency) so we’ll see how it goes,” Heat president Pat Riley said. “We want to find as much space as we can on the floor for Dwyane, LeBron and for Chris (Bosh) to be able to operate.”

The Heat can only offer Allen a mid-level exception of around $3 million. That is considerably less than what Allen may be able to get from other teams but the Heat are also throwing in possibly the best chance for Allen to win another ring.

Steve Nash will likely be leaving his previous team as well this offseason as the Phoenix Suns. Nash made $11.7 million last season and the Suns are unlikely to offer him a 3-year deal worth more than $10 million per year.

The Suns plan to go after Eric Gordon as well and would look to offer him around $12 million per year but New Orleans should be prepared to match any reasonable offer as Gordon is a restricted free agent.

Nash will be able to get much more money elsewhere starting with Toronto who is rumored to be preparing to offer Nash $12 million per year.

“There’s positives to every situation,” Nash said. “The Raptors would be one of those teams where you’re probably not going there to win a championship in the next three years. For me it’d be going home to Canada, to a great city, and trying to help an organization move forward.

“I’m open to the positives of all of them. It’d be great if four or five contenders came after me and all offered me a deal, but the reality is I might not get that opportunity. So I’m going to look at every opportunity and Toronto will be one that I’ll study as well and look at the opportunity for them to grow in the next three years and what kind of impact I can have on that team. And obviously from a community standpoint, it’s a special place for me.”

via ESPN’s Marc Stein

Nash will also most likely be targeted by Dallas and New York but he’ll be able to make the most money in Toronto. Nash would like to have another chance at winning a ring and that would be hard to imagine in Toronto but he has also said that money is still an important factor for him.

Allen and Nash are both looking for another chance at a ring to close out their careers but they would both have to take a lot less cash to do so. The Heat look like the most likely landing spot for Allen right now and for Nash that place is Toronto.

Tags: Boston Celtics Dallas Mavericks Eric Gordon Miami Heat Pat Riley Phoenix Suns Ray Allen Steve Nash Toronto Raptors

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