Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 7/3/12
MIAMI Larry Bird didn't mention any names. But it sure sounds as if he wouldn't be a fan of free-agent guard Ray Allen taking less money to join the Miami Heat. In an interview with ESPN, the Hall of Famer who recently stepped down as Indiana president, said what he doesn't like about how the Heat have put together a team that just won a title and is shooting for more. The one thing that bothers me the most is guys taking big pay cuts for a year to go down there and try to win a championship, Bird told ESPN. Theres a lot of guys who like to ride the coattails of the best and theyll take a pay cut just to have an opportunity to win that ring. Allen, who will visit Miami on Thursday, has been offered a three-year, 9.53 million deal by the Heat, well below the two-year, 12 million offer the Celtics have on the table for him to re-sign. The most the Heat can offer any free agent for next season is the 3.09 million taxpayer exception. The Heat in the summer of 2010 brought in free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join a re-signed Dwyane Wade. It paid off as Miami last month beat Oklahoma City for the NBA championship. I always say you got to play by the rules, and, if thats the rules, thats the rules, Bird told ESPN about how the Heat put their team together. But to have the best player (James) and probably the fifth- or sixth-best player (Wade), and a top-20 player (Bosh), thats tough to compete against. For bringing together the three stars, Heat president Pat Riley was named 2010-11 NBA co-Executive of the Year. Bird won the award last season for having constructed a team in a different manner, patiently building up Indiana through the draft and trades. While with the Pacers, Bird saw up close what James did in leading the Heat to the title. James, who averaged 30.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in the postseason, had 40 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in Game 4 of an East semifinal in which Miami beat Indiana 4-2. If you go back to the beginning of the playoffs, has anyone ever had a better run? Bird told ESPN about James. Itd seem like youd have a bad game once in awhile. He never did have a bad game. He was so focused, and just seeing his confidence build and build and build. He should go down in history as one of the top, top players and maybe he can get close to Michael (Jordan). If James, who won his first title, ends up rivaling Jordan, who claimed six, at least Bird wont have to be on the wrong end of it if he remains retired. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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