Et tu, Ray Ray?
After thinking about this signing for the past two days, I’ve decided that—it kills me to say it—I’m going to boo Ray Allen. And so will the rest of Boston. I recognize everything he’s done for the Celtics, but signing with the Heat is unforgivable.
This stings for so many reasons. For one, it just doesn’t make sense. Giving the home team a discount is commonplace in sports, but signing with the rival for half price? That’s downright treasonous.
All the talking heads have given us a bunch of reasons as to why Ray chose Miami over Boston: his relationship with Rajon Rondo, losing his starting role to Avery Bradley, almost being traded, the Jason Terry signing and wanting to win one final championship. The only one of those excuses that holds any water is the Terry signing. They play the same position and would be splitting minutes. All the other reasons aren’t reasons at all. They’re excuses.
Allen might have had a poor relationship with Rondo, but was it so bad that he would betray Pierce, Garnett and Rivers, too? Rondo is young, cocky and abrasive; it makes sense that they might not be the best of friends, but shouldn’t someone who is lauded for his professionalism be able to look past that? And when I hear about Rondo not getting him the ball enough, I just flat out didn’t believe it. Rondo, the guy who led the league in assists, didn’t pass the ball enough? C’mon, man.
When Ray lost his starting job to Bradley, it was known that Allen wasn’t happy. Everyone praised him for his classiness and professionalism; he didn’t outwardly complain or start a problem in the locker room. But if Ray is the consummate professional that he claims to be, why would coming off the bench upset him? Professionals do what’s best for their team, and the Celtics were a better team with Bradley starting. The fact of the matter is that Ray’s pride was hurt. He’s a future Hall of Famer, and Bradley is a 21-year-old kid. I just didn’t think Allen was the kind of guy who let things like that bother him.
And Ray was upset that he was almost traded? Danny Ainge almost traded every single Celtic last year. You expect younger players, like Rondo, to be upset about trade speculation, but not respected veterans like Ray Allen.
It just seems like Ray is playing the child. He felt slighted last year; his signing with the Heat is some sort of vengeance. If he left because his feelings were hurt, then he’s not the man we thought he was. Ray, you were hurt, you’re not the defender you used to be and Danny almost blew up the entire roster. You should have taken everything in stride, not sign with the team that eliminated you two years in a row.
One of the reasons Celtics fans love this version of their team so much is that they seemed to share their hatred of the Heat. We all loved it when Rondo called the Heat out at halftime for that very reason. And then to see Ray switch sides for half price? He’s a turncoat, plain and simple.
If his reason for joining the Heat is because he wants one more title, that’s almost worse. That means he gave up on his teammates. He gave up on Garnett, Pierce, Doc and even Rondo. He lost faith. In Larry Bird’s recent SportsCenter Conversation with Jackie MacMullen, he talks about how he doesn’t like when veterans sign with title contenders for less money, because that’s coasting off the accomplishments of others.
Instead of earning one more ring with Pierce and Garnett, Ray’s handing the heavy lifting over to LeBron and Wade. For someone who works as hard as Ray Allen, that’s sheer laziness. Wouldn’t the champagne have tasted better winning another title with the Celtics? In Boston, Ray was still a member of the Big Three. In Miami, he’s only a hired mercenary.
Ray, you gave up on Boston. You turned your back on your teammates. You’re going to get booed.