Ray Allen Ends Era, Signs With Miami Heat
The end of an era is over in Boston, let the Johnny Damon-Ray Allen comparisons begin.
After five years of being together, the Celtics Big Three has been split up as Ray Allen has signed a $9 million, three-year deal with the Miami Heat.
Heat owner Micky Arison broke the news on Twitter Friday night by saying:
“Its 2:30am in London and I was just woken up with great news. Welcome to the family #20!!”
Moments after the tweet, Allen’s agent Jim Tanner confirmed to ESPN that Allen had agreed to sign with Miami. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James also went to Twitter on Friday night to congratulate/welcome their newest teammate.
Exploring his options, Allen went to dinner in Miami on Thursday with Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra, among others. On early Friday there were reports indicating that Allen was “torn” between the decision of staying in Boston or taking his talents to South Beach.
And of course, there are always two sides to an argument.
Ray could have stayed in Boston where he emerged as a fan favorite and -- with the help of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- helped bring a championship to a struggling Celtics organization. Boston was offering him a two-year deal worth $12 million, therefore earning more money had he stayed with the C’s.
After signing KG for another three years with hopes to keep the Big Three intact, Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said that his next target was then Ray Allen.
But everything suddenly changed when the C’s acquired Jason Terry.
With Terry on the roster and Avery Bradley -- who took Allen’s starting spot this past season -- coming back from injury, Ray knew that he would’ve obviously had a more limited role in Boston which is not something that a 37 year-old who has played in the NBA for 16 years wants to hear.
Another factor in Allen’s move could have been his relationship with Rajon Rondo. There were reports throughout the season that Allen and the young point guard had their differences. Once again, not surprising for an older veteran to be aggravated by younger players taking command. However, I won’t put too much emphasis on Rondo-Allen’s friction because they did a good job hiding it and somehow were just a game away from the NBA Finals.
The biggest factor, in my opinion, was that the Celtics tried to trade Allen to Memphis in March. The C’s were ready to ship Allen out in return for O.J Mayo and a draft pick, and presumably Allen was also ready for the move. In fact, Danny Ainge called Ray to inform him of the trade then called him minutes after to tell him the trade was off.
How would that make you feel?
Surely Allen wasn’t happy about nearly being traded but he played through it and tried to contribute in whatever way possible. Once the C’s season ended Ray knew he wasn’t Boston’s main priority so why should Boston have been his?
Celtics fans would have loved to keep the Big Three together but this year’s playoffs proved that there is another Big Three in the NBA that was better.
So if you can’t beat them, why not join them?
Miami showed an incredible amount of interest in Allen and he made the logical move by joining a group of younger, faster players who are coming off a championship season. Ray fits their game plan perfectly and what hurts C’s fans is that a player they once cheered for every time he made a three-pointer, which was frequently, has now become a dangerous enemy.
Steve Nash, who just signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, is in a similar situation as Allen but he made it simple in an interview with ESPN, saying, “You never want to play for the other team but at the same time, there's really no true loyalty in sports.”
It’s completely understandable why people are upset with Allen’s move to Miami, but fans considering booing him when he returns to Boston are out of line. Allen had many great moments with the Celtics and just might be one of the classiest superstars around the league.
And despite not agreeing with the decision, Celtics coach Doc Rivers admitted that Ray had his reasons for leaving.
“No, I didn’t agree, but that doesn’t matter,” Rivers told CSNNE.com. “It doesn’t matter what I think. I just wish we could have found a way [to sign Allen], and we didn’t.”
The Big Three is over in Boston but instead of criticizing Allen, applaud him for being part of the group who helped the Celtics raise banner #17.