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One of the comments that stood out to me the most was when Allen said, “Forever, I’ll always be a Celtic.” With all due respect Ray, what planet do you think you are on? While everyone in Boston respects what you did in your five years with the team, no one is okay with you leaving us for a hated rival. Boston fans may have been able to look past it if the Heat offered you more money, or even if the Celtics didn’t look like they could contend anymore, but neither one of these is true. The Heat offered half of what the Celtics did, and as evidenced in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, this Celtics team can still contend with the almighty Miami Heat.
Danny Ainge did everything he had to do to put the pieces of last year’s team back together and even added more depth in former sixth man of the year Jason Terry. However, Allen saw the Celtics efforts to sign other free agents as disrespect to him. The Boston Herald reported that, “(Allen) expressed disappointment that management didn’t pursue him with more passion in free agency.” I fail to see the lack of passion as the Celtics offered Allen two years for $12 million and were even going to throw in a no-trade clause, which would have only been the third no-trade clause in the entire NBA.
It has been no secret that Allen had been troubled by trade rumors over the past couple years, including this past year where a trade for OJ Mayo fell through at the deadline. Ainge wasn’t attempting to disrespect Allen, he was merely treating the NBA like what it is- a business. Of all the players on the Celtics, the only two players with trade value and contracts that other teams wanted to take on last season were Rajon Rondo and Allen. Rondo has survived his fair share of trade rumors as well, like a deal to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook that never fully materialized. Rondo took those rumors in stride and continued to play.
Ainge needed to explore options as the Celtics were struggling last season to even get to .500. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce’s contracts were both too large for other teams to take on, so the only viable trade candidates were Allen and Rondo. In the end, neither were traded and the fact that the Celtics were willing to grant Allen a no-trade clause showed they were committed to keeping him in Celtic green.
I fail to see the lack of passion on the Celtics part, unless Allen means the Celtics players didn’t go on Twitter posting photo shopped pictures of Allen in a Heat jersey as a way to lure him in. Or maybe Ray didn’t get his ego stroked enough by Danny Ainge, which clearly wasn’t the case with Pat Riley, Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade. Pat Riley knows what to say in regards to recruiting players, and James and Wade are two players who need to have the spotlight on themselves at all times, so it would be hard for Allen to not hear their pleas.
Then there is the notion that Rondo and Allen’s problems behind the scenes led to his departure. Allen chose to avoid the topic in his press conference, and other than rumblings of incidents that happened behind closed doors, there is no real evidence of a real problem. Even if there were irreconcilable differences between the two, it was hardly shown on the court as Rondo continued to dish the ball to Allen so he could hit three point shots. If playing with the best assist artist point guard in the league is a bad thing, then I’m not sure what a good thing in the NBA looks like.
Another aspect is the signing of Jason Terry, who in a sense is a very similar player to Allen. Allen could have seen this as a replacement effort on the Celtics part, but once again the Celtics were just doing good business. They saw that there was a real chance that Allen would be woo’ed by the Heat and leave for the defending champions, so they had to do something to protect their team. Signing Terry assured them they would still have a viable three point threat off the bench who could contribute big minutes in big games. Allen should not have seen Terry as a replacement but as a great player to play along side. Whether Terry and Allen split time, or even if they were on the court at the same time, Allen could have benefited from the Terry signing.
No matter what the reason for him leaving is, Ray Allen has left the Celtics and the city of Boston for less money and a chance to play with our rival, the Miami Heat. It was a classic case of “if you can’t beat them, join them.” While he thinks all will be good when he makes his return to Boston, I see a negative reaction awaiting Allen when he returns to Boston. The way it looks to Boston fans is Ray is taking the easy way out. He wants to coast to a couple more rings and sit in the sun, instead of gritting out another ring in Boston; He wants to sit in the corner, wait for Lebron or Wade to dish the ball to him so he can shoot uncontested threes.
Thanks for your five years here in Boston Ray Allen, but now you are nothing more than our enemy. No more admiration for you from Boston. All that is left is the sour taste you left in our mouths as you high tailed it down to South Beach. See you in the Eastern Conference Finals.