Ray Allen’s departure from the Boston Celtics was anything but a harmonious parting. The fact that he left for Boston’s biggest rival, the Miami Heat, has to bother the Celtics. Not only will it bother them, but it will motivate them to have a huge season in 2012-13.
In an interview that Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers did on 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston, Rivers spoke about Allen leaving and divulged some interesting details about how everything went down, particularly when asked about whether he had reached out to Allen about coming back:
“I tried. I actually tried to call him. After the year we talked fine and then when free agency started Ray didn’t return Danny’s calls, didn’t return my calls. I stopped trying. Listen if you’ve been with me or our team for five years or four years and I have to call you every 10 seconds in free agency then you probably don’t want to be here.”
Needless to say, it is clear that the breakup between Allen and the Celtics was nowhere near amicable. The fact that Allen did not return the phone calls of Boston’s GM or head coach looks bad, but there is at least one excuse.
Many players choose to let their agents handle those types of negotiations, since it is their job. Knowing that, it does not seem as bad for Allen to not speak to the team about the negotiations away from his agent.
However, the Celtics likely do not view it that way. Allen played in Boston for five years, and to be cold enough to completely ignore calls from his old team is uncalled for. Even if he did not wish to talk about the negotiations without his agent, he could have told them that rather than turning a cold shoulder.
The Celtics are an emotional team. Both Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo are not afraid to express themselves, and it seems pretty clear that both are probably not happy with the way Allen chose to leave their team. The fact that he did so in order to join their biggest rival cannot help.
The Boston Celtics will be just fine without Ray Allen though, because of that emotional leadership. Garnett and Rondo are fueled by their emotions and each will be determined to have a huge season in response to Allen’s slight.
When you add that to the new players the Celtics have added to their roster, you get a dangerous team that has as good a shot as any to win it all. Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Jared Sullinger, and Jason Collins are all new faces on the team that will play significant minutes. The Celtics also have Jeff Green back, and he will probably be the heart and soul (along with Terry) of the Celtics’ bench.
The Celtics’ core group was getting older, and Boston GM Danny Ainge responded by bringing plenty of young supporting talent. The team is younger, more athletic and better equipped for the long NBA season that waits. This team looks better right now than it has in years, and the emotional motivation that Allen has given them will only make them better.
All of this new talent combined with the mainstays of Garnett, Rondo and Paul Pierce makes up the engine that is the Boston Celtics. Ray Allen’s insulting departure will be the fuel that powers that machine to great heights during the 2012-13 NBA season.