Earlier this NBA off-season former Boston Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen spurned a more lucrative contract offer by the Celtics and signed with conference rival the Miami Heat. At the time many cited a rocky relationship between Allen and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo as a key reason for Allen’s decision.
In a recent interview with Y! Sports Adrian Wojnawoski, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers wanted to clear the air, saying that he was ultimately at fault for the Celtics losing Allen, not Rondo:
“People can use all the Rondo stuff – and it was there, no doubt about that – but it was me more than Rondo,” said Rivers, who is working as an NBC analyst during the Olympics. “I’m the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I’m the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn’t mean guys liked that – and Ray did not love that – because Rondo now had the ball all the time.
“In the opening speech I make every year, I tell the team: ‘Every decision I make is going to be what’s good for the team, and it may not be what’s good for the individual.’”
We have to give Rivers credit for taking the heat for Allen’s departure (no pun intended). But the fact still remains that even with Rivers putting the basketball primarily in Rondo’s hands, it’s the point guard’s job to get other players involved on the court. If Rondo would have gotten Allen more involved in the offense, Allen probably would still be in a Celtics uniform.
Another possible factor here is that Rivers may have shown a bit of favoritism to Rondo. Rivers himself was a point guard in his playing days, and his infatuation with Rondo’s abilities may have played a prominent role in Allen’s departure as well. And not to mention the Heat are much better positioned to contend for another NBA title than the Celtics are before Allen retires.
No one besides Ray Allen truly know his reasons for taking half the money to play for Heat than the Celtics (he signed a 2-year $6 million deal with Miami as opposed to the 2-year, $12 million offered by Boston). Either way, it adds a new dynamic to the budding eastern Conference rivalry between the Heat and Celtics, which is a win for the NBA and it’s fans. As always.